May 21 2013 Latest news:
Friday, November 4, 2011
A man with a cannabis factory who shot dead a burglar was today jailed for 10 years for manslaughter.
Raymond Andes, 39, was told that he was “no ordinary householder” and that he had carried out a “dangerous and unlawful act” to protect the drugs farm.
He claimed that he had fired a shot to scare off Isaiah Bovell, 21, who was trying to break in to his flat in Clapham, south London.
Mr Bovell was hit by a bullet in his head at the ground floor window.
Passing sentence at the Old Bailey, Judge Peter Thornton QC said: “You also had an axe in the bedroom which you said was for self-defence. You were no ordinary householder. All of this was to protect you from being attacked for your cannabis.”
Andes was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter by a 10-2 majority on Wednesday.
Judge Thornton told him that he could have called out a warning to the intruder rather than firing the gun.
He said: “I accept that you shot to miss. Nevertheless from an objective point of view that was a particularly dangerous act in the circumstances and it was unnecessary. You could have taken other action. You did not call out, issue a warning or call for help.”
Andes was jailed for 10 years for manslaughter, as well as five years for possession of a firearm and two years for cultivating cannabis, all to run concurrently.
Judge Thornton continued: “By your dangerous and unlawful act you took the life of a 21-year-old. Your culpability in all the circumstances is high. Particularly having and keeping the firearm and ammunition for a number of years as protection for your cannabis crops.
“The seriousness of the crime is in the consequences. Mr Bovell may have been a burglar that morning but he was not armed and he did not deserve to die. You have deprived his family and friends of a loved one. His mother is understandably distraught at her loss.”
Andes had a hydroponics system with the capacity to grow 75 cannabis plants, which would generate around £30,000 in profit per year, the judge said.
In mitigation, Julian Hayes said that it was a “very sad, unusual case”, and that Andes had fired a shot simply to warn off the man who died.
He said: “He did not see the deceased’s head and he did not deliberately fire at the deceased’s head.”
Andes previously told the court that he was “terrified” at the time and had heard of people being tortured to find drugs or money.
Mr Hayes said that his action was a “very extreme response to a very extreme set of circumstances” which was “borne out by desperation”.
He added: “His actions were driven by a desire to defend himself in very difficult and trying circumstances. Ones which many of us have never experienced and should hope never to experience.”