A 25-YEAR-OLD man lost an eye after he was shot in the face with a catapult in front of horrified onlookers outside Battle Abbey.
Eli King, 23, of Darvel Down, Netherfield, has denied a charge of grievous bodily harm (GBH) following the incident on May 24 this year.
His co-defendant Anthony Adams has pleaded guilty to the offence.
This week Brighton Magistrates Court heard from victim Isaac Fuller, who described to the court being shot in the back of the head, the teeth and the left eye.
Jurors heard that the men had a history of bad feeling and that Eli King had previously dated Isaac Fuller’s current girlfriend Jane Chapman.
Father-of-one Mr Fuller, also of Netherfield, gave evidence to the court via video link.
He said: “I got shot in the back of the head, lost two teeth and lost my eyesight in one eye.”
Mr Fuller said he had known King and Adams ‘for quite a long time’ and that relations between him and the men were ‘bad’.
Prosecutor Janice Brennan asked who Mr Fuller had gone to Battle with and he replied his girlfriend Jane Chapman.
He told the court he had got out the car to get some money out when he heard someone shout that he was going to kill him.
Mr Fuller said he tried to ‘settle things down’ and walked over to the men who were standing on the opposite side of the road from where he was by the town’s Post Office.
He said: “I was a little bit scared I didn’t know what was going on so I tried to settle things down.
“I was just talking, trying to settle things by talking about it but it was just not happening.”
Ms Brennan asked if Mr Fuller knew what was upsetting Eli King. He said: “He was jealous of me and my girlfriend together as he used to be with her.”
Mr Fuller added: “He was still shouting, I said ‘calm down there is no need for this, let’s sort this out’.
“All of a sudden I got hit in the back of the head.”
Mr Fuller said he saw Anthony Adams hit him from four or five feet away. He said he could see the catapult in his hands.
Mr Fuller said he felt ‘dizzy’ and then saw Adams reload it and he was shot again.
He added: “One was trying to keep me talking and was trying to keep me at bay.
“I turned around. I was scared as I had been shot at the back of the head and then he shot me in the mouth.”
Ms Brennan asked who was trying to keep him talking and he replied Eli King.
Mr Fuller said the second time he was shot in the mouth he lost two teeth and his mouth filled with blood.
He said: “I was really scared. I thought I have got to run off, I can’t do anything else I just have to run.
“I was scared for my life.”
Mr Fuller said he tried to walk away but he was concussed and drowsy. He said he came back round and ‘spat his teeth onto the floor.’
He said he ran down a bumpy track near Battle Abbey.
Mr Fuller said: “When I turned back around to say, ‘stop this, there is no need for this’ they were both firing at me at the same time with catapults.
“Some hit me in the back of the legs, the lower back and the upper back.
“I stopped running half way down the track because I could feel blood in my mouth.
“I couldn’t get my words out and my lip was numb.
“I said, ‘stop it stop it stop it’.
“When I looked up I got shot in my left eye. Then I just fell down really.”
He told the court it was Eli King who shot him in the eye from a distance of four or five feet away.
He said he couldn’t remember much except his brother Michael Fuller fainted and other people tried to help him.
The victim was then taken to hospital and has since been told he will never have sight in that eye.
In cross examination, defence barrister Pam Rose put the suggestion to Mr Fuller that Eli King did not have a catapult and the injuries were sustained by Anthony Adams, but Mr Fuller said he was sure he had seen King with the weapon and it was he who fired at his eye.
Ms Rose said Eli King had a girlfriend and three children and was not jealous of Mr Fuller’s relationship but that Mr Fuller was jealous of him.
She said it was Mr Fuller who started the fight by shouting at Eli King, but Mr Fuller denied this.
The trial continues.
* A BUSINESSMAN told the court how he called the police to break up the brawl after he was alerted by a customer.
On Monday the court heard from Ronald Burton, the owner of Mrs Burton’s Tea Rooms on Battle High Street.
Mr Burton told the court that from his tea rooms he can see the entrance to the Abbey and the Abbey Green.
Just after 10am on May 24 he heard a commotion and went outside.
Mr Burton said: “One of our customers, who I had been talking to, was outside on the pavement.
“I could tell by his body language something was happening.
“I went outside and he said ‘there’s a fight, you had better call the police’.”
He added: “I saw these three guys, there was an altercation, I could tell by their body language.
“Then one of them produced a catapult from behind his back.”
Mr Burton said he couldn’t hear what was said but there was an ‘aggressive tone’. He told the court two of the men were fighting with the third.
He said the catapult was pointed at the victim, in the direction of the Abbey.
He said the man ran towards the car park and the other two followed him.
Then Mr Burton noticed a car pull up outside the Post Office and a woman got out and ran across the road and started ‘grappling’ with the other woman.
The police arrived and separated the two women and grabbed the man with the catapult.
Mr Burton said: “My main concern was the catapult really as at the time there were lots of children about.”