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 has been remanded in custody
A man remains in a life threatening condition this evening after being shot in the head at a solicitors' office in Wiltshire.
A bankrupt conman has been found guilty of murdering the Devizes solictor Jim Ward. Michael Chudley shot Mr Ward at his offices in the town in July last year.
Chudley admitted manslaughter through diminished responsibility because of a paranoid personality disorder. But the jury at Salisbury Crown Court took just two hours to find him guilty of murder.
As Michael Chudley is convicted of the murder of Devizes solicitor, Jim Ward, Mr Ward's widow Nicky Morris issued the following statement.
The man accused of murdering Devizes solicitor Jim Ward has admitted three other offences during his trial.
Builder Michael Chudley had denied a charge of making a threat to kill and two firearms offences, but this morning he changed his plea to guilty. He denies murdering Mr Ward last July but admits manslaughter. His trial continues.
The man on trial for murdering Devizes solicitor Jim Ward has told a jury he has no recollection of the incident.
Michael Chudley admits the manslaughter of the 58-year-old lawyer in July last year, but he denies murdering him.
– Michael Chudley, being cross-examined in court
I have no concrete memories of that day. My first recollections are being in the police station saying 'no comment. ... If I had wanted to kill [Jim] Ward I'd have done a hit on him two years before.
The prosecuting barrister asked Michael Chudley:
"Do you bully and threaten people to get your own way?"
"No", replied Mr Chudley.
He asked Mr Chudley if he had threatened to kill a man in 1992, threatened a second man with violence, threatened a third with a pick-axe and threatened a neighbour that he would break her legs.
"No," he replied to all of them.
"Did you bully Francine Whale (his ex-girlfriend)?"
"I've slapped her a few times when she needed it."
"Are you in fact a coward?"
"No, I'm a lion."
Ian Glen QC asked Michael Chudley: "Was this the gun that you used to shoot Mr Ward?"
Mr Chudley replied: "I've no idea because I was very ill at the time. I'm very ashamed at what I did. I was very fortunate to have no recollection of the incident."
The bankrupt builder accused of murdering Devizes solicitor Jim Ward has given live evidence at his trial. Michael Chudley, 63, of no fixed abode but formerly of Rowde, admits the manslaughter of the 58-year-old lawyer in July last year. But he denies murdering the father-of-three.
Mr Chudley told a jury at Salisbury Crown Court he had written a book called 'A history of an abused man by the authorities' in March 2012. He sent it to the Justice Minister Ken Clarke. and the newspapers The Daily Mail and Daily Express.
He said he had bought the shotgun years ago. He said he used it for bird and clay pigeon shooting at weekends and had sawn the barrel off later. Earlier, Mr Chudley's own barrister told the jury thathis client was an 'unreliable historian' of the facts of this case.
– Ian Glen QC, defending
If the facts were at the magnetic north, Mr Chudley is west or south of the truth.