Air gun attack which missed boy's heart by 2mm 'could have killed him' warns horrified mum after operation at Sheffield hospital

A shocked mum has warned her son could have been killed after he was shot by an air gun.

By David Kessen
Thursday, 8th July 2021, 1:22 pm

Hayley Fowkes revealed her 13-year-old needed an operation to remove a pellet close to his heart, at Sheffield Children’s Hospital after the incident.

Now she has warned of the dangers of air guns and warned people not to allow their children to use them unsupervised.

She said she had to watch son Jaidan ‘get put to sleep’ to remove the pellet that was fired at him on Sunday.

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Surgeons operating on Jaidan after he was shot

She said: “We arrived in A&E in Rotherham Hospital and were transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital after Jaidan had been shot with an air rifle by another child of the same age, 12-13.

“The X-ray of Jaidan showed the bullet, luckily, had hit his ribs and travelled down – but was literally 2mm out from being fatal and hitting his heart!

“I cannot stress enough how it’s not okay to allow your child out with an air rifle unsupervised at all! Literally millimetres in a different direction I would have been writing a very different status.”

She said her son was lucky this time, but the next time a child might not be.

Jaidan leaving hospital after his surgery at Sheffeld Children's Hospital

Jaidan is now recovering at home, but his mum said he had not yet been able to return to school after his ordeal.

South Yorkshire Police said the incident had not been reported the them but the force would investigate if it was reported.

In 2005, a 12-year-old boy died in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, after he was accidentally shot in the head with an air rifle at a friend’s house. A man later received a conditional discharge in connection with the incident following a court case.

In 2019, South Yorkshire was reported as one of the worst areas in the country for air gun attacks on animals, with 28 incidents in the area in 2018, which was the highest in Yorkshire and the Humber and fifth highest in the country.

Jaidan after his operation, after he was injured by an air gun.

Dermot Murphy, a chief inspectorate officer at the RSPCA, said at the time: “We believe air gun misuse is happening on a large scale and what we see at the RSPCA could be the tip of the iceberg. We believe that stricter controls are long overdue.”

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