Dad fired gun at his partner

Wayne Bowen, jailed for three years for firing an empty air rifle at his partner.
Wayne Bowen, jailed for three years for firing an empty air rifle at his partner.

A DAD aimed an air rifle at his partner and pulled the trigger as he threatened to kill her while their two young children were at home, a Sheffield court heard.

Wayne Bowen, aged 33, aimed the empty gun at 27-year-old Erika Taylor in their bedroom after flying into a rage when she returned to their South Yorkshire home after a night out in June.

Sheffield Crown Court heard terrified Erika screamed at Bowen to stop when he aimed the rifle at her as their four-year-old son listened at the door.

Jailing him for three years, Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “This is an outrageous and shocking offence. The gun wasn’t loaded but the fear it caused your partner was such that she thought you were going to kill her.

Bowen admitted possessing an imitation firearm and common assault.

The day before, Bowen became aggressive when Erika said she was going out to celebrate her birthday, telling her: “I will take you into the back garden, I will kill you and burn you.”

The court heard Bowen claimed he had fired the .177 calibre air rifle only to scare his partner of six years, mum to his two sons, aged four and six months.

Stephanie Hollis, prosecuting, said the couple’s relationship was ‘marred with violence’ and that Bowen was jealous and controlling.

The pair were at home on June 25 when Erika told him she planned to go out at around 8pm.

“Bowen became aggressive and told her ‘You’d better watch your back - you’re going to get battered’,” Ms Hollis said.

Erika went out with her friends and stayed with a pal overnight, returning home at around 1pm the next day. Bowen was in the living room with their two sons and shouted: “I’m going to kill you. Where have you been?”

“He asked her to go upstairs and followed her into the bedroom, then pushed her onto the bed,” Ms Hollis said.

The four-year-old had followed them upstairs, and Bowen closed the door so he couldn’t see the violence. The air rifle had been removed from its case and was propped up in the bedroom.

“He picked it up, aimed it at Miss Taylor and pulled the trigger.

“He then broke the barrel, recocked the weapon and aimed it again at Miss Taylor.

“She screamed at the defendant to stop,” Ms Hollis told the court.

“His reaction was in turn to break the barrel once again, raise the gun and pull the trigger.”

When the little boy began to open the door, Bowen put the gun away, warning Erika: “Wait until the kids are in bed. You’re going to get it.”

Erika fled the house and called police. Officers arrested Bowen at the scene and found the victim ‘upset and shaking’.

Bowen, of Birk Avenue, Kendray, Barnsley, aimed the weapon at Erika from three to four feet.

Andrew Smith, defending, said afterwards Bowen didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.

“He knew the weapon was never going to be actually fired because there was no ammunition in it. It was a silly thing to do,” he added.