A TEENAGER who dreamed of becoming a pilot suffered life-changing eye injuries when he was shot in the face with a BB gun on New Year's Eve.

The boy, who cannot be named, was just 13 when he was badly injured by young father Benjamin Brown last year. On Friday, the victim appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court to hear as Brown was given a prison sentence.

The court heard Brown had gone to a friend's flat in Tatnam Road, Poole on the day of the shooting. He and the friend had gone to the roof of the block armed with the BB gun. Brown, who was then 20, started shooting steel pellets into Wimborne Road.

One hit the victim in the right eye, and as he turned away he was hit on the back.

The boy, who is now 14, read aloud a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing.

He said he has suffered blurred vision and pain, and has found the past 10 months "extremely challenging".

"The pain I felt was awful," he said.

"It was my dream to become a pilot, but now, because of my injury, I can never realise that dream."

Brown, who is formerly of Tatnam Crescent and now of Seatown Close in Canford Heath, admitted wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent and common assault.

The assault charge relates to a woman who was hit on the leg with a pellet as she sat at the bus stop.

When he was arrested on January 2, Brown admitted owning a BB gun, but claimed he had got rid of it before the shooting.

Brown's girlfriend Hannah Sherwood, 21 and of Seatown Close, admitted committing an act with intent to pervert the course of public justice by telling police Brown had taken the gun to the tip on New Year's Eve. However, officers later found video on her phone of the gun being used in their flat around 10pm on December 31.

The weapon has never been recovered.

Jane Rowley, prosecuting, said: "At 8pm, Brown and his friend went on to the roof of the flats with a BB gun and steel pellet gun cartridges.

"Brown fired the gun and the 13-year-old victim on the road was hit in the right eye.

"He immediately lost sight in the eye and started running away to the bus stop in a state of distress saying 'I've been shot'.

"Brown had also shot the boy a few times in the back, but the victim was protected by his thick clothing.

"The victim's injuries are described as life-changing. There is extensive bruising to the retina."

A hand-written letter from Brown to the victim was read aloud during the hearing.

In it, Brown said: "I'm writing to apologise for all of the pain and trouble caused by my stupidity.

"It was never my intention to hurt anyone, but there is no excuse for what I have done.

"I hope you will continue your dream of becoming an RAF pilot."

Brown, 21, was sentenced to two years and two months in prison. He wept throughout the hearing. Sherwood was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 18 months, as well as 80 hours of unpaid work.

Detective Constable Jo Poultney, of Bournemouth CID, said: “The teenage victim in this case has been left with a serious injury that could have an impact for many years, if not the rest of his life.

“This case demonstrates the significant consequences that can result if people behave in an irresponsible manner with weapons of this nature - they are not toys and can cause devastating injuries.

“I would like to thank all the witnesses who came forward and those who assisted with this investigation, which resulted in the offender being identified and brought before the court.”