Man denies murdering solicitor

James Ward was the principal solicitor of Morris, Goddard & Ward legal firm Photo: PA Archive

A businessman has pleaded not guilty to the sawn-off shotgun murder of a Wiltshire solicitor who later died from his injuries.

62 year old Michael Chudley is alleged to have walked into the office of James Ward and shot him while he worked at his desk in Devizes on July 2.

Mr Ward, a married father-of-three from Westbury, Wiltshire, was taken to hospital but died on July 22.

The 58-year-old was the principal solicitor of Morris, Goddard & Ward legal firm in St John's Street.

Bespectacled Chudley, originally from Rowde, Wiltshire, appeared at Winchester Crown Court for the 15-minute plea and case management hearing.

Dressed in a blue sweatshirt, he also denied having a sawn-off shotgun with intent to cause murder, possession of a sawn-off shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence to Daphne Courtney and making a threat to kill Daphne Courtney.

The Recorder of Winchester, Judge Keith Cutler, remanded Chudley in custody and adjourned the case for a further hearing on December 17.

He told Chudley that a trial date has been set for June 4 next year.