Former soldier shot air weapon at women

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Two women who were shot by a raging ex-soldier after a party today spoke of their traumatic ordeal as he was jailed for 22 months.

Luke Moyes, 29, formerly of the Duke of Lancaster Regiment 1st Battalion, calmly donned a gas mask before opening fire on them with an automatic air pistol.

Police injury photo of Laura Reilly. Luke Moyes shot at her and her friends with an air weapon in Chorley

Police injury photo of Laura Reilly. Luke Moyes shot at her and her friends with an air weapon in Chorley

Insurance worker Laura Reilly, 30, from Bamber Bridge, and mum-of-three Kat Milburn, who had been guests of Moyes’ partner at her Chorley home, were injured by the blast.

Preston Crown Court heard drunk Moyes, who had been at a wedding, had taken exception to something the friends had been discussing when he returned to the house on April 12 this year.

Today Laura said: “It just came out of nowhere - the others were having conversation about someone he knew. Luke got the wrong end of the stick and started arguing with Kat about it. But then it started getting a bit strange. He was getting insulting - he didn’t like the fact someone was arguing back.

“He went upstairs and assumed he’d gone to bed. We were just in the kitchen carrying on talking.

Luke Moyes, 29, ex army aniper jailed 22 months for injuring three women with air pistol.

Luke Moyes, 29, ex army aniper jailed 22 months for injuring three women with air pistol.

“He walked past me into kitchen, with us all in front of him, and he had a gun. He was as calm as anything. I said: ‘ What the hell’s that?’

“He put a gas mask on, looked at his partner, and shot her.

“I didn’t want to leave, his partner was trying to talk him round but he was hammering into her. He shot me in the bum. I had a bruise the size of tangerine.”

At one point Laura tried to grab the weapon but he shot her in her thighs at point blank range.

He also tried to batter the kitchen door down.

Laura said Moyes battered through a door at the house. He said: “The door was cracking with the force and then he smashed it in with a lamp.

“I had only met him a couple of times and knew he had PTSD. My boyfriend was in the army too, and I previously said to Luke I’m glad he left.”

Kat, 28, of Chorley, said even though he had shot her in her stomach, she had been more disturbed by a video he had sent her partner

While on bail for the incident, he sent Kat’s partner a terrifying video message of himself smeared with blood, saying: “This is your blood, I’m going to kill you and your family.”

Kat, who is now on anti-depressants, said: “My partner woke me up and said Luke had sent a video - I was absolutely petrified, shaking when I saw it.

“The video got me a lot worse I couldn’t take kids on holiday. It impacted on them because I was crying all the time and didn’t want to go out. Even though I know he’s locked up - I feel like he’s going to come back. I keep thinking what did I do that was so bad.”

Moyes’ defence argued that he had been badly affected by violent scenes he witnessed while serving as a soldier.

He admitted actual bodily harm, two assaults, possessing an air weapon, criminal damage and sending threatening messages.

Prosecuting, Lisa Worsley described how he had grabbed an electricity powered ball bearing rifle and started firing pellets at the ceiling and then at his partner.

Sentencing, Judge Ian Leeming QC said: “Your pleas are against a background that entitles me in this case to give you maximum credit.

“You had been out to a wedding reception. You had a number of problems including PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

“That was affecting you that evening. You came home and disgraceful behaviour followed.

“You had about the house a ball bearing rifle. You were upset and angry, you were affected by drink. An argument developed and you ended up attacking these three ladies.

“You shot (your partner) in her leg a number of times. One of her friends tried to intervene and you discharged more pellets at them. You threatened to kill one of them.

“You grabbed one of them by her throat and threw a glass of sparkling wine and then the glass itself. You broke the kitchen door to get at them when they were trying to get away from you. You fired a burst at Laura Reilly. She received in her legs some seven pellets.”

He pointed out he had been on bail for the offences when he had “drank a huge quantity, 150 units of alcohol” and attempted to take his own life but fell and cut himself.

He added: “But what you then did is smear the blood over yourself and send a video message to the partner of Miss Milburn, Matthew Lovatt, and you said a number of threatening things. This is aggravated by being on bail awaiting sentence.

The court heard the ex-soldier, who latterly worked as a sales advisor, was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder which had contributed to his actions - however he had a criminal record before his service which includes possessing a firearm.

Daniel Prowse, defending, said Moyes, now of Fairway, Rochdale, had medicated himself with alcohol, and added: “For a number of years he served this country with distinction. This is an appalling consequence of witnessing people he loved as friends either killed or seriously injured.

“Were it not for his witnessing such violence while serving his country, he would not be before this court committing these type of offences.

“He is on medication assisting him dealing with his memories.”

He added he was supporting other inmates in HMP Preston with drug and alcohol issues and was a guide for the jail’s Anne Frank exhibition, dealing with hate crime.

Moyes was discharged from the Army on medical grounds and suffers depression.