Mercy for girl who bought Seaton gang leader a gun

Jamie Channing

Jamie Channing - Credit: Archant

Judge says it was clear woman was in fear of a drug addict who bullied her into buying a firearm

A judge has shown mercy of a Seaton gang leader’s girlfriend who was bullied into buying him a gun.

Ashton Wills bought the replica pistol for would-be drug dealer Jamie Channing, who used it to terrify two women in different attacks later the same day.

She used a false name and address at the Seaton Sports and Leisure shop, but was identified by CCTV after Channing had used it to start a reign of terror in the town.

The weapon was a high powered BB gun and fired ball bearings with enough force to shatter a car window and leave holes in the door of a house.

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Channing, who is currently serving a 13-year jail term for a series of violent crimes, was banned from owning a gun because he already had previous convictions when it was purchased in June last year.

Wills, aged 26, who has recently been living in Barnstaple and Exeter, admitted aiding and abetting a prohibited person to buy a BB gun at Seaton on June 24 last year. She was sent on a drug rehabilitation programme and ordered to do 20 days’ rehabilitation activities with the probation service as part of a community order by Judge Erik Salomonsen at Exeter Crown Court.

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He told her: “You are a woman of good character with no previous history of criminal offending, which is perhaps surprising, given your relationship with Channing. He is serving a lengthy sentence for offences committed in the days after you purchased this BB gun for him. It is clear you were in fear of him and had no idea of the purpose to which this gun was going to be put.”

Channing was convicted after a trial earlier this year when the jury heard that the gun was designed to look exactly like a Colt pistol and left the victims terrified they were going to be shot.

Crack cocaine addict Channing used it to attack a complete stranger who he mistook for a woman who owed him money. He shot out the side windows of her car and left her with a wound in one hand. He went on to use the weapon again in a violent attack on the home of a woman who he was trying to bully into selling drugs for him. The packaging for the gun and 1,500 ball bearings were found at Channing’s lock-up at Axmouth, when he was arrested in July last year.

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