Leeds crossbow bolt victim's gun licence battle

A Leeds motorbike shop boss, who clashed with a biker gang and was shot by a crossbow thug in an unrelated attack, is to fight police in court after he was refused a shotgun licence.

Police told Andrew Malham, director of Thundercity Motorcycles, Sheepscar, they were refusing his application because they feared a breach of the peace if he had a gun and was the victim of further violent attacks.

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But Mr Malham, 51, who wants a shotgun to shoot clay pigeons and vermin on private land, said: "I am being penalised because I'm the victim of violent crime. It wasn't me shooting someone with a crossbow, but I'm the one being turned down."

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Mr Malham suffered a stomach wound when he was shot with a crossbow bolt after answering the door at his home in Boston Spa, near Wetherby in July 2007.

In March 2008 his attacker, Paul Miller, then 32, of Station Road, Bawtry, was jailed for 27 months by a judge at York Crown Court.

Miller denied he was acting as a hired assassin at an attempted murder trial after the jury heard Harley Davidson enthusiast Mr Malham had clashed with Leeds biker gang the Blue Angels.

Miller said the night before the shooting, he had been placing flyers on car windscreens near Rothwell for his vehicle diagnostic business when Mr Malham got out of a white van he had leafleted and threatened him.

The Leeds Crown Court jury cleared Miller of attempted murder but convicted him of unlawful wounding.

Mr Malham had told the jury that acrimony with the Blue Angels biker gang in 2006 had led to criminal damage at his home and business.

Mr Malham, a former member of the Blue Angels, told the YEP: "Shooting is the new golf, socially in business circles. Business deals used to be done on the golf course, I'm sure they still are, now shooting is more popular than ever."

In the police refusal letter last August, Chief Inspector Christopher Moorhouse-Everitt wrote: "I am concerned that should you be granted permission to possess a shotgun there will be a potential risk to public safety or breach of the peace if another extreme situation were to arise."

An appeal against the police decision to refuse Mr Malham a firearms certificate was due to be held in front of a judge at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, but was adjourned to a date to be fixed.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "As an appeal is currently in motion, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

"However, the issue of Firearms Licensing is one we obviously take extremely seriously. We only issue licences to those who satisfy the strictest national firearms legislation criteria. Considerations to public safety take primacy in all such decisions."