Man guilty of road rage shooting

A man was found guilty today of shooting another motorist in the stomach during a road rage incident.





Paul Smith, 46, of Friars Way, Dover, Kent, shot James Saunders, 31, at point-blank range following an altercation in Alkham Valley Road, Dover, on the evening of October 26 last year.



He had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder but admitted possession of a firearm at an earlier hearing at Canterbury Crown Court.



Following a two-week trial, jurors today cleared him of the charge of attempted murder but found him guilty of another charge of wounding with intent, a Kent Police spokesman said.



The court heard that the incident occurred after Smith drove his Renault Megane at speed behind Mr Saunders' Ford Fiesta then sped in front of him and hit his brakes.



Mr Saunders skidded to a halt and held his hand on the horn to remonstrate to Smith before both men drove off.



Smith then stopped on a sharp right-hand incline on Alkham Valley Road where he waited for Mr Saunders.



Both men got out of their cars and began to push and shove before Mr Saunders heard a "loud crack" and Smith got back in his car and drove away.



Mr Saunders realised he could not walk and then felt "excruciating pain" and saw blood coming from his stomach, the court heard.



He underwent surgery at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford where he had part of his bowel removed and went on to suffer three months of intense pain.



Smith claimed he had bought the homemade firearm the night before with the intention of taking his own life.



He told the court he was heavily depressed and suicidal following the birth of his daughter who was being treated in hospital for a rare skin disorder.



After handing himself in to police on November 4 he admitted hiding the gun at Channel Gliding Club at Waldershare Park, Dover.



Officers went on to find two parts of the firearm, clothing worn by Smith, and the Renault Megane he had been driving there.



Judge Adele Williams adjourned sentencing until August 27.



Investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Lee Whitehead from the force's major crime unit, said: "This was a vicious and unprovoked attack on an man who was enjoying a night out with his girlfriend and a friend.



"The victim has suffered life-changing injuries and the experience of that night will always stay with him.



"Smith was driving erratically and when Mr Saunders remonstrated with him, he lost his temper and shot him.



"Kent Police take any offence involving a firearm very seriously and will seek to prosecute wherever sufficient evidence is present."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea