A FORMER soldier who left the Army after killing a schoolboy has been given a chance to stop committing crime. Lee Anderson, from Sunderland, shot dead a 14-year-old during a conflict in Northern Ireland.
The 34-year-old turned to drink and admitted downing up to four litres of cider a day.
He appeared at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court last week to face a string of charges, but after hearing he was going into an intensive detox programme, the Bench gave him a conditional discharge.
Anderson, of Pilgrim Close, Monkwearmouth, was convicted of two offences of theft, two of being drunk and disorderly and one of breaching a suspended sentence.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, told the court he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly after becoming violent when he was thrown out of the City Library for falling asleep on September 12.
A similar offence took place in Sunderland’s Burger King the following day.
Both came after he was caught stealing necklaces from a charity shop in June and on November 7,
Anderson took a pair of Firetrapp boots worth £39.99 from Sports Direct and replaced them with his own, before walking out of the store.
He also breached a 28-week suspended sentence by failing to turn up for two appointments with the Probation Service.
Tom Morgan, defending, said the incident during Anderson’s army service was behind his crime spree.
He said: “He is trying to address his alcohol consumption, and it is to his credit that he is.
“He is engaged with the charity that professes to help heroes and he is being given a chance, after many years of waiting.”
Mr Morgan said a charity had offered him a place at a residential rehab unit in Cheshire.
Chairman of the bench Bob Francis said it was Anderson’s “lucky day” and imposed a 12-month conditional discharge.
He said: “You have been in the Forces. You know what a company sergeant major is.
“Well, think of this bench as a company sergeant major with attitude.”
The Echo reported in July how the former soldier turned to drink after suffering years of mental anguish over the shooting of a teenage boy.
Anderson was serving as a sniper in Northern Ireland when he shot and killed the 14-year-old. The court heard during that hearing that the teen had been firing on British soldiers and the 34-year-old took a split-second decision to save the life of a fellow serviceman.