A FORMER Marine who took two loaded shotguns to a railway line to commit suicide accidentally shot himself in the hand.

Colin Blake, who had been discharged from the armed forces, took the sawn-off weapons to land near Didcot, at about 3.30am on November 6 after drinking at a party.

Blake, 27, of Queensway, Didcot, survived with serious hand injuries.

He was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday after admitting two counts of possessing prohibited firearms.

He told the court: “I was carrying (one of the guns) in my pocket.

“It fell out and the butt hit the ground.

“I went to catch it with my left hand and it went off. It took all the bones off and tendons. I tried to reload the 12-bore to finish the job off, but I couldn’t because I was in shock, so I phoned the ambulance.”

The court heard another loaded shotgun was in the defendant’s coat at the time.

Blake maintained he found the guns and ammunition wrapped in a waxed jacket close to the same railway line about three weeks before the incident, but Judge Eccles dismissed these circumstances as “inherently improbable”.

He said: “The account he has given is simply not the truth.

“He is a man who acquired these weapons not with a view to committing crime, but it seems likely he was intending to sell them on.”

In a statement read in court, Dc John Ablett said Blake told him in hospital after the incident: “You’re not daft, you know I’m not going to tell you where I got them from.

“I’ve had them a while, I got them at separate times with the ammunition and paid cash, but I won’t say who from.”

Lucy Tapper, defending, said a pyschologist’s report stated Blake had “spiralling depression”.

Miss Tapper said her client’s discharge from the Marines – which Judge Eccles said was self inflicted – “had a very significant and profound affect”.

Judge Patrick Eccles said Blake’s mental state meant there were sufficient “exceptional circumstances” to avoid imposing the standard five-year minimum sentence for possessing prohibited firearms.