A man has been sentenced to three and a half years’ jail for shooting an 11-year-old girl in the head at Deloraine.
Nathan Richard Campbell, 26, was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Phoenix Newitt by a Launceston Supreme Court jury last week.
During sentencing, Justice Robert Pearce said Campbell acted in the heat of the moment when he fired a rifle at a car parked in Stagg Court.
In that car was Phoenix, her mother Sarah, her uncle Zack and his four-year-old son.
The bullet hit the right side of Phoenix’s head, with fragments entering her brain, heart and lungs.
She was flown from the Launceston General Hospital to the Royal Children’s hospital in Victoria to have life-saving surgery.
Since the shooting, Phoenix had required therapy for her speech, balance and coordination.
Justice Pearce said Phoenix continued to improve, but there would be permanent consequences as a result of her injuries and the impact of the crime was relevant to the sentence.
He also said Campbell could not have predicted Sarah and Zack had brought their two children to a situation of conflict, but the shooter likely foresaw the risk of someone being injured and acted regardless of the risk.
Campbell’s four-day trial detailed the events that led to the shooting at Stagg Court in August 2017.
A fight between Ms Mansell and Ms Newitt at Deloraine Woolworths preceded the shooting.
The rifle Campbell used in the shooting was unregistered and illegally obtained.
Lawyer Evan Hughes said his client wanted other people to learn from his mistakes.
“Mr Campbell deeply regrets the harm that was caused to Phoenix Newitt on that evening. It was never his intention that anyone be harmed that night,” he said.
“If you have a firearm at home that you’re not meant to have, contact your police station, take it to them, hand it in.”
Justice Pearce also took into consideration Campbell’s excellent employment history for sentencing.
He will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence.
The shooter blew a kiss to his now-fiance Brearna Mansell as he was led out of the courtroom.
His family, who were in the courtroom every day throughout the trial, told Campbell they loved him moments before he was escorted out.