Nail gun prank likened to 'bad comedy sketch' could have killed carpenter
A carpenter had a lucky escape when a co-worker accidentally shot him in the leg with a nail gun – narrowly missing his main artery.
In what was likened in court to a bad comedy sketch, Ashley James Humphries jokingly tapped Peter Lloyd-Carter on the leg with the power tool not realising it was loaded.
He shot the victim above his knee just missing his femoral artery as they took a break in the canteen at a building development near Castle Cary.
The injury, which could have caused death within minutes if the artery had ruptured, resulted in the victim undergoing surgery under general anaesthetic.
When the horrified defendant was interviewed by police he admitted he had behaved recklessly saying it had been an idiotic thing to have done.
He said he bitterly regretted his actions especially as the victim was still unable to work due to his injury.
Humphries, 35, of North Street, Crewkerne, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Lloyd-Carter causing him actual bodily harm during the incident on March 13 when he appeared before Somerset Magistrates.
Prosecutor Emma Chetland said that Mr Lloyd-Carter was a self-employed carpenter working on a kitchen installation at the development.
“He was taking a morning break in the site canteen when Humphries came in, approached him and then placed the gun on his leg and the trigger fired,” she said.
“He immediately felt a sharp stinging pain and realised a nail had been put in his leg and shouted out.
“Humphries then said, ‘Oh f*** there’s nails in it’, and as the victim straightened his leg he thought he was going to pass out.”
He had a pinhole wound in his leg and blood was trickling from it and when other workers realised what had happened the alarm was raised and he was taken straight to hospital.
When doctors examined the injury it was discovered the nail had just missed Mr Lloyd-Carter’s femoral artery and he had to have a general anaesthetic and an operation.
When Humphries was interviewed by the police he admitted responsibility, saying he took the nail gun into the canteen to leave on a radiator to keep warm for use later.
He said he had pressed it to Mr Lloyd-Carter’s leg and was extremely shocked when it went off. He added that he had used such tools for more than 10 years and was fully aware of all the health and safety regulations regarding their use.
The court heard the injury had had a massive impact on the victim’s earnings as he was still unable to work and was now pursuing a claim through the civil courts.
Defending solicitor Chris Ivory said: “This was a tragic accident almost similar to a bad sketch show but the two men are friends and there is no animosity between them.”
He said that Humphries thought there was not a battery in the nail gun at the time and also did not realise there were nails loaded in it.
The magistrates sentenced Humphries to a one-month curfew order. Costs of £85 and a £60 victim surcharge were also imposed but no order was made for compensation.