A HUSBAND has gone to jail for more than two years after for shooting his wife’s lover who had posted an intimate photograph of her on Facebook.
Rob Ellerby, 44, leaned out of his window and blasted personal trainer Scott Watmuff when the powerfully built former Leeds United football hooligan came banging on the front door of the couple’s remote house.
The defendant, from Chapel Lane, Sawdon, near Scarborough, admitted possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and causing actual bodily harm at a previous hearing.
Watmuff, who claimed to be a former member of the Leeds United Service Crew and said he featured in a book about their exploits, was jailed last month for a revenge porn offence.
Jailing Ellerby for 27 months, Judge Stephen Ashurt said there was no justification for the shooting.
“Breakdowns of relationships usually do create tensions but they can never be resolved by threatening another with, let alone discharging, a loaded weapon because of the obvious risks,” he said.
“Even if Scott Watmuff was an unsavoury character, you were not justified in shooting at or towards him.”
Teesside Crown Court heard Watmuff and the defendant’s wife Rubbina had an affair and split from their partners to rent a place together in Scarborough.
But he ended the affair in July and when she returned to the marital home, he wanted half of the deposit on the flat back.
Robert Galley, prosecuting, said Watmuff posted an intimate photo of Mrs Ellerby online before going to their house.
Despite pleas for him to remove the photo, he did not.
Watmuff, who had been drinking, smashed a window of his ex-lover’s car and banged heavily on the door, bruising his hand.
Ellerby opened the window of an attic room and fired his shotgun into the ground, close to the back of Watmuff’s right leg.
Watmuff fled and was “fearful and tearful”, thinking Ellerby was going to “finish him off”, Mr Galley told the court.
Two locals managed to stop Ellerby, who had followed him outside and had been heard to shout: “Now you know how I feel.”
Ellerby then went back to the house to get a baseball bat but was again persuaded not to use it, dumping it in a planter in the garden.
At this stage Ellerby’s wife was said to have demonstrated “mixed emotions”, saying she loved Watmuff, but then telling her husband: “I never loved him as much as I loved you.”
She claimed Watmuff told her husband: “Go on, shoot me, that’s what is going to happen to you.”
The victim initially told police he did not want to press charges because of the illicit relationship he had had with the defendant’s wife.
The court heard about Facebook posts Watmuff made to associates, said to be from the Service Crew, in which he announced no-one was to make reprisals on his behalf, and that the two men were “all square in effect”, Mr Galley said.
Charles Blatchmore, defending Ellerby, said Watmuff’s Facebook page featured a photo of his bare tattooed arms, along with the slogan from the Service Crew - “These colours don’t run.”
Mr Blatchmore said: “He wanted to present a fearsome image to those that knew him, he wanted Mr Ellerby to be scared of him and his associates.”
The barrister said there have been threats made by hooligans to shoot his client.
Mr Blatchmore said the revenge porn offence had caused “embarrassment, humiliation and shame”.
When the couple heard the banging on their door, they thought it sounded like 10 men, not one.
The husband fired a single shot and now accepted it was wrong, the court heard, though there had been provocation and an element of self-defence, even if it was not legally enough to deny the offence.
The defence played a film taken on Ellerby’s phone in the aftermath, where the defendant asked: “What have I done wrong?”
Watmuff replied: “You shot me, for a start.”
Mrs Ellerby was with the two men as they discussed what had just happened.
Mr Blatchmore said his hard-working client had not wanted any of this to occur.
The barrister said Watmuff claimed to have lost three pints of blood and to have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but said the week after the shooting, he had written on social media: “Back on the beach and looking forward to a good workout.”
The judge told prison staff Ellerby must be kept away from Watmuff who is in jail in Hull, serving a 16-week term.