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Fund started to pay £30,000 legal fees of farmer, 83, cleared of GBH

Kenneth Hugill was cleared of a GBH charge. Credit: Hull News and Pictures

A fund has been started to pay the £30,000 legal fees of an 83-year-old farmer who was cleared of shooting a convicted burglar in the foot when he intruded on his land.

Kenneth Hugill wept with relief after a jury at Hull Crown Court took just 24 minutes to clear him of grievous bodily harm on Friday.

However, despite being cleared of the crime, Mr Hugill will have to pay the £30,000 legal costs incurred during the three-day trial.

The Hugill family have said they will have to take out a loan to pay the fee.

Nick Freeman is known by the nickname Mr Loophole. Credit: PA

However, celebrity lawyer, Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole, has started an online fund for Mr Hugill, who has never been in trouble with the police before.

Mr Freeman felt so strongly about the case that he set up a crowdfunding page.

Writing on the page he created, Mr Freeman branded "the current legal system is a disgrace" adding that the outcome was "not justice".

He said: "In my view he should never have been prosecuted because the evidence I read in the media never supported the contention that there was more than a 50% chance of conviction...

"I'm sure there are plenty of people who felt as equally incensed as I did after reading about the case, and will be happy to spare a few pounds in helping this hard-working family in their hour of financial need."

After the trial Gerry Wareham, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said it was in the public interest to prosecute Mr Hugill.

He said: "We considered all the evidence in this case extremely carefully, and took full account of the situation Mr Hugill found himself in that evening."

Kenneth Hugill with his wife Sheila outside Hull Crown Court. Credit: Hull News and Pictures

Mr Hugill admitted firing two shots from his shotgun - one up into the air and another down the side of Richard Stables' Land Rover Discovery when the 44-year-old drove onto his land after midnight with a fellow convicted burglar in Wilberfoss, near York, in November 2015.

Mr Hugill said he pulled the trigger "because I thought the car was going to kill me", when it revved its engine and drove towards him.

Stables - who gave evidence as a prosecution witness - claimed he and a friend had driven a Land Rover Discovery onto the remote farm after getting lost on their way to Bridlington, East Yorkshire, for a "lamping" trip.

During the trial the 44-year-old claimed the gun was fired without warning and thought his "foot had gone" as he got back into the car and sped off.

However, Mr Hugill's family revealed their home was surrounded by armed police and a helicopter as police believed they were holding a hostage – 15-hours after the shooting.

The family criticised both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their decision to prosecute an 83-year-old man defending his home.

The police took no further action against the two intruders who were questioned on suspicion of poaching and attempted diesel theft.

Mr Freeman is known for defending wealthy clients in motoring cases.