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5 January 2011, 15:48
A man has been jailed for 12 years, after being convicted of firing a shotgun at a family home in Wisbech.
44 year old Robert Phillips, from Lords Lane in Wisbech St Mary, fired three shots outside the property in February 2007.
He was caught after being linked to the crime via cutting-edge ballistic tests, which linked a gun found at his home to the crime scene.
Phillips leant cash to an inmate when he was in prison back in 2005, but wasn't happy when the man didn't pay him back after they were both released.
Phillips then took the man to court, and failed at a civil action to recover the money.
The day after he was sent a letter confirming this, Phillips went to the man's home in High Road, Gorefield, Wisbech, with a pump action shotgun to seek revenge, according to Cambridgeshire Police.
The man's estranged partner and three children, aged 19,11 and five months were in the home when Phillips fired two shots at the windows of the property.
Phillips' target was sitting in a van on the driveway outside, and jumped out to tackle him.
Phillips then fired a shot in his targets direction before getting away in a car that was nearby.
Officers arrested Phillips a short time later, but he denied the charges and detectives couldn't find a gun.
Then, in a separate investigation in July 2008, Phillips was arrested in connection with £50,000 worth of fuel being taken from the oil giant Shell via a fraudulent account.
When officers searched Phillips' home and surrounding area, a pump-action shotgun was discovered at his home, along with a number of live cartridges.
He pleaded guilty to a number of fraud offences, handling stolen motor vehicles and possession of the shotgun.
He was sentenced to five and a half years in jail in February 2009.
A firearms expert was then called in, and scientific tests by the Forensic Science Service showed the cartridges recovers from Phillips' home matched those fired at the house in Wisbech back in 2007.
The investigation into that crime was then re-opened, with Phillips claiming he was given the gun in early 2008.
However, detectives traced two witnesses to the night of the shooting, and, yesterday, Phillips pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear at Cambridge Crown Court.
He has been sentenced to a further six and a half years in prison, taking his combined total to 12 years in jail.
Detective Inspector Martin Brunning, said: "Our investigation into Robert Phillips started in 2008 when we looked into the high value fraud involving fuel.
When the firearm was discovered it meant we could re-open the investigation into the terrifying shooting the previous year.
The forensic work around ballistics gave us strong evidence to link him to the crime scene and bring further charges.
Phillips is a dangerous criminal who showed his ruthless side by firing shots at a home where young children were celebrating a birthday party.
This sentence should send out a strong message that people who resort to such levels of violence face a considerable time behind bars."