Has Ashley Cole become to News Of The World what the Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle was to Ralphie? Tempting. Teasing. Irresistible.

Say you bought into the story that Cole may or may not have engaged, at a gay orgy, in improper ways, with a cell phone (even though he wasn't at such an event, said this story about his very substantially rewarding libel settlement). Well, you will likely buy into yesterday's story about how the Chelsea left back and Dolly Dimple cheating ex was just "larking" about with his high-powered air rifle before he fired at "work placement boy Tom Cowan," who was five-feet away.

"Cole didn't know the gun was loaded but it's a disgrace. His behaviour beggars belief."

The incident is believed to have happened last Sunday morning when ÂŁ110,00-a-week Cole, 30, arrived for training at the Chelsea's Cobham training ground in Surrey holding the weapon, complete with a muzzle and nightscope.

The .22 air rifle is the most powerful gun that can be owned in the UK without a licence and if misused, it can kill.

Sources at Chelsea said: 'Tom screamed as this lead pellet hit him in the side. He was bleeding profusely. He was in agony and seemed to go into shock as he steadied himself and sat down on one of the benches.'

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That blurb comes from the Daily Mail, one of many pubs covering said shooting. So, maybe this one has more legitimacy than the libelous cellphornication. Or not. Since I'm not entirely buying it, I won't directly link to the story. But if you go to News of the World's web site, the below-the-fold stories are "From BB to EE: Big Brother Chanelle unveils bears her new boobs" and "Posh chauffeur parks in disabled bay: Cystic fibrosis sufferer left fuming by Victoria Beckham's driver on shopping trip."

'No comment' over Cole gun claims [Newtownabbey Times]

Non-reputable paper says Ashley Cole shot an intern with an air rifle [Dirty Tackle]

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Ashley Cole accidentally shoots fan with an air rifle at Chelsea training ground [Daily Mail]

Ashley Cole wins libel damages [The Sunday Times]

Cheryl Cole and ex-husband Ashley have secret meeting at their former marital home [Daily Mail]

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With a tweet, it's over for Cheryl and Ashley Cole: They were so in love with themselves, the marriage never stood a chance [Daily Mail]