NEARLY a month after he blasted drug dealer Phillip Stennett in the face at close range with a sawn-off shotgun, gunman Joshua Rae still believed Mr Stennett had died.
"I shot him in the face," Rae told an associate on January 12, 2018, some 25 days after he and two others forced their way into Mr Stennett's unit in Gordon Avenue, Hamilton.
"I went there with a couple of mates and he got a bit cheeky. You can Google it."
And when he was asked if the victim had died, Rae, now 32, replied: "Yeah. [I know] because of his neighbours and friends. "He died a few days later in surgery getting bits of his jaw removed."
But despite losing teeth, part of his jaw and tongue, having metal plates inserted in his head and suffering permanent scarring and disfigurement, Mr Stennett had survived the callous home invasion shooting.
Rae, Dion Welsh and another still unidentified male forced their way into Mr Stennett's house about 10.30pm on December 18, 2017.
It is fortuitous that the victim was not killed.Judge Tim Gartelmann, SC, said.
Mr Stennett grabbed an ornamental samurai sword and swung it at Welsh, striking him in the arm and leaving his DNA at the scene.
Rae then raised a sawn-off shotgun to chest height, pointed it at Mr Stennett's head, said "F--- you, Phil" and then fired the weapon, blowing a hole in Stennett's head that Rae later told an associate left "half his face hanging off".
"The offender pointed the firearm at the victim's head before discharging it," Judge Tim Gartelmann, SC, said while delivering his judgement on Tuesday.
"The nature of the firearm, the direction in which it was discharged and the offender's words immediately prior to its discharge all combine to demonstrate unequivocally that he intended to inflict very grave harm.
"It is fortuitous that the victim was not killed."
Rae was arrested after a police pursuit and found with a sawn-off .22 rifle.
He pleaded guilty to discharging a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and was on Tuesday jailed for a maximum of 11 years, with a non-parole period of more than eight years.
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