A Royal Navy sailor who shot his girlfriend with a BB gun and attacked two other women has escaped being sent to prison because a magistrate did not want him to lose his job.
Harley Moore, 18, fired at his partner and hit her in the foot at their home in Deal, Kent, when he flew into a jealous rage after she went on a trip to London with another man.
Although ‘shaken up’, the next day the couple went out drinking in the coastal town with her friend, but Moore became irate again.
His girlfriend ran into the The Sir Norman Wisdom Wetherspoon after he was ‘practically foaming at the mouth and spitting at me’.
Moore followed her into the pub toilets, ‘pinned her up against the wall’, and then tried to hit her but missed, Margate Magistrates’ Court heard.
Harley Moore, 18, fired at his partner and hit her in the foot at their home in Deal, Kent, when he flew into a jealous rage after she went on a trip to London with another man
The next evening the couple went out drinking with her friend. But he turned irate again and his girlfriend ran into the The Sir Norman Wisdom Wetherspoon after he was ‘practically foaming at the mouth and spitting at me’
The victim told police: ‘He went to hit me and missed – but he caught me with his nails.
‘Then he turned around and hit [my friend], causing her to fall backwards.’
A female Wetherspoon employee intervened and pointed him towards the door, but he pushed her arm away.
Moore’s girlfriend suffered a scratch to her face while her friend was left with a bruised back.
Moore admitted four counts of assault by beating when he appeared in court on Thursday.
In a victim impact statement, Moore’s girlfriend said: ‘The whole incident has made me feel very shaken up and upset because I never imagined he could hit me.
‘I am shocked that someone I thought I loved could do this to me and my friend.’
But magistrates refused to hand him a community service order because it would mean him losing his job in the Navy where he is a junior able seaman on the HMS Prince of Wales.
Chair magistrate David Gibbons said: ‘We in no way wish for Mr Moore to lose his job – we wish him the best with that.
‘But we can’t let his job mean that he escapes justice.’
He told the defendant: ‘Mr Moore you’re aware our hands have been tied in what we can do to punish you for this.
The sailor was on leave from his duties on HMS Prince of Wales (pictured), which will act as the nation’s flagship, at the time of the attacks
‘The incident was severe and you were unpleasant to three different people.
‘While the offences are deserving of a community order, it has become apparent that this is unworkable, so we will be going down the route of a conditional discharge.
‘This will be for three years. Should you commit another offence within that time you can be punished for today’s offence and any new offences.’
Defending Moore, Ian Bond said the sailor was on leave from his duties on HMS Prince of Wales, which will act as the nation’s flagship, at the time of the attacks.
He said Moore had been upset that his girlfriend had gone on a trip to London with another man.
Describing the assault with the BB gun, he said: ‘It fires very small plastic rounds – about the size of a pea, a petit pois.
‘Mr Moore said: “I’m sorry – I was trying to shoot your shoe”.
‘But the next day things are still simmering and this young man has behaved as badly as he did because of his frustration and because he’d had too much to drink.
‘He’s genuinely remorseful.’
Chief Petty Officer Darrell Binner attended court with Moore and said disciplinary action is also being taken by the Navy.
He said: ‘The Navy takes a very seriously dim view of what Mr Moore has done and he will receive appropriate punishments from his commanding officer.
‘That could mean a dock in his pay, extra duties or even being discharged.
‘He is returning to Portsmouth while transportation is arranged to get him back on the ship – the vessel is operational and it requires a full crew.
‘The Navy would not be able to comply with a court order for him to complete community service.’
Moore was ordered to pay £200 compensation to his girlfriend, £100 each to her friend and the pub worker, as well as court costs of £85 and a £26 victim surcharge.
Magistrates also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the BB gun.