Dog row shooting neighbour guilty of attempted murder

A man who shot his neighbours in Norfolk in a row over their dog has been found guilty of attempted murder.

Kevin Barrett, 57, of High Street, Nordelph, was also found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, at Norwich Crown Court.

Barrett, who denied attempted murder, admitted wounding David Venn with intent to cause grievous bodily harm but had denied wounding Susan Venn.

Barrett claimed the dog ruined his life. He will be sentenced on Friday.

The court was told that after the Venns moved to Nordelph, near Downham Market, the couples got on well, but relations broke down after the Venns got the rottweiller-mastiff cross called Millie.

Mr and Mrs Venn shared a driveway with Barrett and they initially enjoyed social outings together.

Relations soured when the couple obtained the new dog.

Barrett's defence lawyer said he had begged his neighbours not to have the animal because his wife Janice was petrified of such a big dog, but the Venns' refused.

This decision to keep the dog - which came from an animal rescue centre - destroyed the couples' close relationship overnight, jurors were told.

Barrett got very angry, tried to feed the dog a poisoned sausage, smashed a piece of garden furniture, told the Venns that the problem was putting a strain on his marriage and said he would "do for them", jurors heard.

The court heard former firefighter Mr Venn, 63, told police about the situation, but had not wanted them to take action because it could have inflamed the problem.

The jury also heard that Barrett told Mr Venn he had a £12,000 contract out on him and his 61-year-old wife.

Vitriolic abuse

The row came to a head in June 2009 when Barrett confronted the Venns with a gun.

Barrett told Mr Venn: "I'm going to do for you and your dogs and take the consequences."

The prosecution said Barrett attacked the couple's car with a spade, shattering the windscreen, then pointed the .410 shotgun at Mr Venn's face.

He fired the gun hitting Mr Venn's hand as he raised it for protection. Barrett then fired at Mrs Venn injuring her in the chest as she was fleeing to seek help.

The attack was the culmination of a campaign of "vitriolic" abuse, the court heard.

Barrett told police: "I didn't mean to kill him, that's why I used the .410."

When police arrived it was unclear who was the victim and who was the attacker because Mr Venn was holding the gun.

He had been wounded but attacked Barrett and took the gun from him as he reloaded after firing at Mrs Venn.

'Fortunate to survive'

Mr and Mrs Venn were treated by paramedics at the scene but had to be taken to hospital for treatment to their injuries.

Firearms expert Abigail Hannam said the shots could have caused lethal injuries, especially to Mrs Venn.

Pellets were removed from her chest in hospital. Mr Venn was kept in for several days for surgery to his hand.

After the guilty verdict Det Sgt Jason Davis said: "This was a neighbourhood dispute that got completely out of hand.

"It culminated in Barrett waiting in a driveway with a loaded shotgun and then attempting to shoot David Venn in the face at almost point blank range.

"It is extremely fortunate that Mr Venn was able to take evasive action and the couple survived this attack."

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