Road rage man jailed for shooting pregnant woman

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The Independent Online

A gunman who shot a pregnant mother while her children sat in her car after a minor traffic accident was jailed for nine years yesterday.

Colin Grant shot Fiona McNamee in the leg because she was "talking tough" and had "dissed" him during an argument about the collision in a residential area of Streatham, south London. Ms McNamee, a trainee solicitor who was four months pregnant, was shot from a range of five feetand a bullet lodged behind her knee, leaving her with potentially permanent injuries.

Jailing Grant at Southwark Crown Court yesterday, Judge James Wadsworth said Grant had no reason to argue with Ms McNamee and must have known there were young children in her car when he shot her. "You fired the gun quite deliberately at that woman in the presence of her children. You shot her and you caused damage to her which is likely to be permanent.

"There is great public concern at the possession and use of firearms and what you did that day ... shows exactly why there is such concern," he said.

Grant, 22, of Clapham, south London, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm on 29 April last year, and to possessing a BBM Bruni automatic handgun with intent. He had originally been charged with attempted murder.

He was a passenger in a BMW belonging to his brother-in-law, Michael Rowe, when they had a bump with Ms McNamee, 28, as she drove home in her blue VW Golf convertible in Streatham about 9.30pm. She was with her son, aged four, daughter, aged seven, a friend, Dawn Cumberbatch, 28, and Ms Cumberbatch's daughter, also aged seven.

Both drivers stopped to inspect the damage and discuss what had happened but they failed to agree over what to do, despite talking for 30 minutes.

Ms McNamee then said she would pay for her own repairs and was walking back to her car when she felt someone behind her, heard a bang and fell to the ground. The court was told that as she lay on the road she saw Grant pick up a mobile phone she had dropped. He got into the BMW and screamed: "Drive, drive drive".

He later told Mr Rowe: "The woman got shot ... she used disrespectful words, she talked tough, she dissed me."

Three months after the shooting, Ms McNamee gave birth to her third child two months prematurely. Jennifer Knight, for the prosecution, said she had needed extensive treatment for her injuries and would take a long time to recover from the shooting.

Grant was arrested after police, including armed officers, surrounded his home. When they moved in to search his ground-floor flat, he threw the handgun out of his bedroom window and it landed a few feet from the officers.

Michael McAlinden, for Grant, said his client was "full of remorse" for what had happened, but, despite his plea, insisted the shooting had been an accident.

He had decided to plead guilty to the lesser offences to avoid forcing his victim to attend the court and give evidence.

Earlier this month, Mr Rowe, 22, from Wandsworth, south London was cleared of doing an act intended to impede the apprehension of another, by driving Grant away from the scene. A jury accepted he knew nothing about the gun and did not realise Ms McNamee had been shot.

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