A rogue paintball marshall shot a group of nine-year-olds in their privates and verbally abused them at a children’s party. To one mum’s dismay the then-18-year-old Zach Ramage was spared jail for his nightmarish assault on the children at Mayhem Paintball in Longfield, Kent. One of the traumatised children was quiet for several days before telling his mum the paintball official had shot him and his friends between the legs, on the feet and in the neck.
He explained the man in charge of the eight children called them “c***s” and “sp*****s” and shot one child at point-black range.
After arriving at the party the children were taken into the woods away from the parents with the paintball marshal, who was the only adult.
He reportedly started the hour-long children’s party by “shooting them in their genitals and their feet.”
The teenager’s role was to make sure the children were not shooting one another in the wrong place but one mum said he instead hid in the bushes and shot at the children.
At times the responsible adult would stand in the middle of the woods on his phone. A child reportedly went up to speak to the marshal but he shot him at point-blank range.
After six of the boys testified in court the paintball marshal was charged with 15 counts of assault by beating and six counts of cruelty to a child under 16. On October 14, Ramage was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court
He was ordered to pay compensation and attend a work and victim empathy session, and handed a community order of 18 months including 150 hours of unpaid work.
The mother of one of the children recounted her son’s horrific ordeal. The 39-year-old, from Gravesend, Kent, said: “It was absolutely shocking, unbelievable really that a person who was meant to be in charge of them would subject them to this.
“I’m still disgusted. He terrorised them for the whole time, abusing them physically and verbally.
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“My son came out and we knew something was wrong straight away but it wasn’t until a few days later he totally opened up and told us everything.
“He called them names, he called them sp******s, he called them c***s, he swore at them, told them to f*** off, we’re talking about a group of nine year old boys, they were shocked.
“He was the marshall so he was supposed to be looking after them and making sure the game wasn’t out of control, they weren’t shooting each other in places they shouldn’t be shot.
“But they were the places he shot them anyway. From what I’ve heard from the boys he was hidden, and I know when one of the boys went up to approach him he shot him at point-blank range.
“He shouldn’t even have been involved in the game, he shouldn’t be doing that, that wasn’t his role. “It was a wooded area and there were points where he was out of view to the children, standing behind a tree or something. He was there to marshal them but he was standing around on his mobile a lot of the time.
The parents waited for an hour and a half without knowing what was happening in the woods. The mother said when the children returned the loud group of boys were unusually quiet. She said: “The game lasted an hour and a half, so the kids went off and we didn’t see them again until an hour and a half later.
“None of them said anything initially when they came back, they were all just very quiet. I know that group of boys well, since my son was a baby, and for them all to be quiet was out of the ordinary anyway.
“I pushed my son on what had happened and he told me, then I phoned the other parents and their sons all started coming out with the same story too.” The mum-of-one called the police and Mayhem Paintball, and was later told Ramage had been sacked.
She praised the paintball company for taking quick action and supporting the families up until the sentencing. However, she said the party from hell has had a lasting effect.
She said: “It was traumatic for the children. It’s not something you expect when you take your child to a paintball party. He even called them the c-word. He should be banned completely from working with young people. We’re not happy he avoided a custodial sentence, but I’m glad it’s now been through court and exposed.”
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“I think the sentencing should have been harsher and I think he should have been put on some sort of list so he’s not able to work with children again.
“Clearly he’s not right enough in the head to be doing that sort of role.
“He’s old enough to do better, but if we hadn’t reported it who knows what he would have gone on to do.”
Tom Davey, who has ran Mayhem Paintball for 35 years, said Ramage was sacked the same evening of the party, and the company had never had an incident like it.
He said: “Our company has proudly employed hundreds of local youngsters and we have never experienced anything like what happened.
“The first I knew was when the organiser of the kids’ party phoned, approximately an hour after the party had finished.
“I was incredulous with the allegations, and immediately began investigations within the company to establish what had happened.
“We supported the organiser in her decision to report the incident to the police, and have cooperated fully with all of their investigation.
“As previously stated, I have never known anyone else or could have possibly thought that someone would want to do the things that Ramage carried out that day. To say it is completely unacceptable just doesn’t cover it.
“We feel that Ramage not only let myself, who gave him the chance of employment, down but his colleagues, himself and his family, moreover he completely let the boys down he was supposed to be taking care of.
“First and foremost we are truly sorry to all of the boys and their families for the incident, and as a company we have learned a harsh lesson and have taken steps to ensure that this type of incident can never occur again.”
Ramage was contacted for comment.