Berkshire

Slough shotgun killer used 'disproportionate force'

Colnbrook bypass woodland scene Image copyright PA
Image caption Wayne Digby was found with a fatal gunshot wound near the Colnbrook bypass

A pensioner who shot dead a man trying to break into his home used "grossly disproportionate force" to stop him, a coroner ruled.

Ian Wade QC concluded Wayne Digby, 48, died as a result of "unlawful killing" from a single shotgun wound as he tried to raid Reuben Gregory's caravan near Colnbrook bypass, Slough, in 2017.

Gregory fired the weapon through his front door, fatally injuring Mr Digby.

The 72-year-old told the inquest he fired the gun to "scare" him off.

Mr Wade said Gregory's shot from a "distance of between six and eight feet away" resulted in the "catastrophic penetration of the area of the lower chest or upper abdomen, by multiple projectiles known as birdshot".

'Safest place'

He added the shotgun was fired "by a person using grossly disproportionate force to repel an attempt to force entry to the caravan".

Gregory, whom prosecutors previously agreed had acted in self-defence, had told Reading Coroner's Court he used his shotgun in what he thought was "the safest place" to fire it.

The inquest heard he had poked his double-barrelled shotgun out of a hole in the bottom of the door of the caravan, on 12 June 2017, and fired it, believing he would injure no-one.

Mr Wade said Mr Digby "was not undertaking a lawful action" at the time of the shooting.

Gregory was later jailed for 10 months after pleading guilty to one count of possessing a shotgun without a certificate.

Mr Digby's accomplice Anthony Hearn, 48, was jailed for 10 years in November 2017.

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