Man kills best mate by shooting him in the face – for a joke

July 29, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A man killed his best friend after he shot him at point blank range – for a JOKE, a court heard.

Benjamin Phillips, 37, fired the 9mm semi-automatic pistol once killing John Austin, 34, as he sat on the sofa.

Shocked Phillips dialled 999 and Mr Austin was rushed to hospital but died soon afterwards.

Jobless Phillips admitted manslaughter and possessing a prohibited firearm when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court heard the friends had been ”messing about” with the gun at Mr Austin’s house in Tollbar End, Coventry, on April 25.

Earlier in the day Mr Austin, who owned the gun, pointed it at Phillips and pretended to shoot him.

They then went out before returning at 5pm when Phillips, from Southport, Merseyside, picked up the gun and shot Mr Austin in the chest.

Peter Grieve-Smith, prosecuting, told the court Phillips acted ”in jest” but was ”grossly negligent” in failing to check if the weapon was loaded.

Judge Christopher Hodson said: ”It is accepted by the defendant that he pulled the trigger.”

The case was adjourned for sentencing on August 23.

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