Drugged up bloke kills pal in shotgun prank assuming he had bulletproof vest

A man killed his friend in a shotgun prank gone horribly wrong, having fatefully assumed his pal was wearing a fully functioning bulletproof vest.

On Thursday when facing the Victorian Supreme Court, John Nelis pleaded guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of his pal Christopher Jacobs, in Geelong, Australia, in July 2020.

Prior to driving to Jacobs’ caravan alongside another friend, Nelis consumed the drug GHB. The purpose of the two men’s visit was to either swap or sell the gun to Jacobs, according to defence barrister Dermot Dann QC.

Upon arrival, Nelis saw his friend dressed in a bulletproof vest. However it had not been properly fitted with anti-ballistic panels.

Oblivious to this, Nelis pointed the shotgun at Jacobs’ chest and abdomen, firing the weapon without checking to see if it was loaded.

“This was just a tragic event with no intent to hurt, no intent to cause any injury whatsoever, by unfortunately a drug-affected man who, in very dangerous circumstances, has a loaded firearm,” Mr Dann explained to the court.

“At the time of the shooting, everyone was in good spirits, with no animosity and no arguments. People were affected by substances but there was no aggression.”

Nelis is said to have yelled out: "It wasn't meant to be loaded" after pulling the trigger.

“It would have been obvious there were cartridges in the gun,” Justice Lex Lasry said in response. “Clearly nobody checked.”

Despite his flaws Jacobs was loved by many, according to his father, who described his son as a “special person’:

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“You do not expect your children to die before you,” said Nicholas Jacobs in a heartfelt statement read to the court.

“When it happens it is so unexpected, so stunning, that you are made numb.

"For your child to be shot dead by the discharge of a shotgun is a vision you do not want to have. But it is now a vision that cannot escape my mind.

“You think about whether you could have done more, that somehow would have prevented him from being killed.

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“There's a kind of lingering guilt that, as a parent, you failed him. That's something I will have to live with forever. I feel great sorrow that Chris's future opportunities in life, whatever they may have been, have been stolen from him.”

Nicholas Jacobs’ partner Hilary believed her stepson to be a “misguided, hopeful, trusting, gullible and loveable” young man.

“So much promise was snuffed out and so much love was removed from the world. Chris, the eternal optimist, had his belief in the goodness of everyone proven to be so badly misplaced.”

Nelis, who on Thursday confessed to the shooting, is expected to face a further plea hearing on January 31, 2022.

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