Live updates

Statement from Surrey Police on puppy farm murders

Surrey Police has said it is investigating three members of staff for gross misconduct in connection with the murder of two women by Surrey pensioner John Lowe.

In a statement it said a number of shotguns had been seized from Lowe in 2013 and then returned to him. He shot dead Christine Lee and her daughter Lucy Lee in February this year.

Today John Lowe has been convicted of killing Christine and Lucy Lee at his home address in Farnham in February this year. Both women suffered fatal shotgun wounds and Lowe was arrested at the scene by armed police. This has been a tragic case and our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the two women who lost their lives.

A year before this incident, in March 2013, Surrey Police seized a shotgun licence and a number of shotguns belonging to Lowe. In July 2013 they were returned following an assessment by firearms licensing officers. After his arrest, Surrey Police immediately referred this previous contact to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). They determined the Force should conduct a supervised investigation into our decision to return the weapons.

We commissioned two independent reports by firearms licensing experts from Hampshire Constabulary and North Yorkshire Police. The initial findings from both reports indicate the decision was flawed and did not meet national standards. Whilst the full investigation into this matter remains on-going, in light of these early findings we have spoken with members of Christine and Lucy Lee's family to apologise for this.

Three Surrey Police employees remain subject to a gross misconduct investigation and, as a result of the two independent reports, the IPCC have re-determined that going forward, this will now be an independent investigation led by them. We continue to co-operate fully with their investigation.

The safety of the public is our primary concern and we have already taken steps to ensure our firearms licensing policy and procedures are in line with national best practice. We are also instigating the recommendations from both reports and reviewing all cases where licences and firearms have been removed and returned to their holders in the last three years."

– Surrey Police

Jury continues deliberations in murder trial

A jury is continuing its deliberations in the trial of an elderly dog breeder charged with murdering his partner and her daughter in Surrey.

John Lowe, 82, is accused of deliberately shooting 66-year-old Christine Lee and her daughter Lucy Lee, 40, with a legally-held shotgun he normally used for killing rats at his property near Farnham in February.

Farmer Lowe told the jury that Christine was shot accidentally in a struggle over the double-barrelled weapon when she tried to stop him going to put down some dogs, and that Lucy was accidentally shot twice a short time afterwards.

Lowe denies two counts of murder and one of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Advertisement

Jury retires to consider verdict in double murder trial

A jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of a dog breeder charged with shooting dead his partner and her daughter.

82-year-old John Lowe denies murdering Charlotte, who was 66, and 40-year-old Lucy Lee at his puppy farm at Tilford near Farnham.

Richard Slee sends this report from Guildford Crown Court.

Jury out in shotgun murders trial

The jury has retired in the trial of an elderly dog breeder charged with murdering his partner and her daughter.

John Lowe

John Lowe, 82, is accused of deliberately shooting 66-year-old Christine Lee and her daughter Lucy Lee, 40, with a legally-held shotgun he normally used for killing rats at his property near Farnham, Surrey in February.

His trial at Guildford Crown Court heard that Lowe told police after the shooting that he had "put down" the women after they had been "giving me s*** for weeks".

But giving evidence, farmer Lowe told the jury that Christine was shot accidentally in a struggle over the double-barrelled weapon when she tried to stop him going to put down some dogs, and that Lucy was accidentally shot twice a short time afterwards.

Lowe denies two counts of murder and one of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. The trial continues.

Advertisement

Pensioner on trial over double murder in Surrey

An elderly dog-breeder from Surrey shot his partner and her daughter in a "dreadful display of violence" after he claimed they had been tormenting him, a court heard.

John Lowe loaded his shotgun to put down four dogs at his farm near Farnham, but instead turned the weapon on 66-year-old Christine Lee before shooting her daughter, Lucy Lee, twice, after she had been "running for her life" from him before returning to confront him, jurors were told.

The 82-year-old denies at Guildford Crown Court two charges of murder on February 23 this year and a third charge of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Mark Dennis QC told the jury that a "desperate" 999 call was made by Lucy, 40, saying that Lowe had killed her mother and she believed she was about to be killed as well.

Mr Dennis said: "The female caller was in a frightened and frantic state, saying that a man called John Lowe had just shot her mother and that she was herself running for her life.

"Moments later, showing extraordinary courage, the caller indicated that she had made the decision to go back to the scene of the incident, saying as she ran: 'I'm gonna go back for him but I'll die', followed by 'I'm nearly outside the house and I fear he's going to shoot me'.

"Her last words to the operator were: 'I don't know if I'm going to be alive if I go back in there. He shot my mum. Bye'.

"Those were indeed her last words to anyone save possibly to John Lowe who moments later was to kill her with two shots from a shotgun."

Mr Dennis continued: "When the police arrived at the address they were met with a scene of carnage. A guard dog was lying dead on the ground at the front of the house.

"The caller, Lucy Lee, was lying dead or dying on some garden steps at the rear of the house, her mother, Christine Lee, was lying dead or dying in the living room inside the house and three further dogs were found lying dead in out-buildings near to the house.

"All these victims of violence had been killed by shots from the same shotgun."

Jeremy Hunt launches Hospice Care Week in Farnham

South West Surrey MP, Jeremy Hunt, has visited a hospice in Farnham to launch National Hospice Care Week.

Jeremy Hunt launched National Hospice Care Week Credit: Press Association

The Health Secretary called in to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice on Friday, where he also made reference to the Hospice’s new Dove Lounge, which was partly funded by a government grant, and provides a space for the Hospice’s art therapy group to meet.

“There are some incredible beacons of light in our community and this is one of those beacons,” said Mr Hunt, as he talked about the importance of hospice care as part of the overall healthcare system.

Hospice Care Week is a national week in which Hospices across the UK raise awareness of the work they do. This year the theme is ‘Hospice Care Everywhere’, and Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice has created a signpost to illustrate this.

Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice provides specialist end of life care for patients and their relatives who are facing a terminal illness, across West Surrey and North East Hampshire. The hospice says the NHS covers less than 15% of its costs, and therefore has to raise over £15,000 a day to provide the care which it gives.

  1. Divya Kohli

Pensioner pilot seriously injured in plane crash

An elderly pilot narrowly cheated death when his light aircraft crashed in woods near Farnham. It happened on Saturday evening at Furze Hill, near the village of Churt in Surrey. The pilot, who's believed to be in his 80s, was cut free at the scene and taken to Frimley Park Hospital. He's said to be in a serious but stable condition. Air Accident investigators are looking into the incident. Divya Kohli reports.

Load more updates