Wiltshire

James Ward trial: Bankrupt man shot solicitor in head

James Ward, solicitor, Devizes (Michael Chudley accused of his murder)
Image caption James Ward died after being shot in the head with a sawn-off shotgun

A bankrupt businessman shot a solicitor in the head after blaming him for the loss of his home and the break-up of his relationship, a court was told.

Solicitor James Ward was shot last July at his office in Devizes, Wiltshire. He died almost three weeks later.

Michael Chudley, 63, of no fixed address, denies murder but has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The trial at Salisbury Crown Court continues.

Prosecutor William Mousley QC told the jury: ""Shortly before 15:00 BST on 2 July last year James Ward, known as Jim, was at work when the defendant Michael Chudley walked into his first-floor office and shot him at close range with a sawn-off shotgun.

"James Ward suffered a devastating head injury and despite all the efforts of various medical professionals died three weeks later in hospital.

"It is clear Michael Chudley intended at the very least to cause serious injury to James Ward and most likely intended to kill him."

The prosecution has not accepted the guilty plea for the manslaughter charge.

Chudley, formerly of Kingfisher House in Rowde, near Devizes, has also been charged with possession of a firearm with intent to provoke fear of violence and making a threat to kill, which he also denies.

The 58-year-old solicitor, from Westbury, Wiltshire was a father of three who worked at MGW Law in Devizes.

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