An elderly dog breeder who is alleged to have shot his partner and her daughter to death told a jury today that he only planned to kill four guard dogs.
John Lowe is accused of gunning down 66-year-old Christine Lee and her daughter Lucy Lee with a shotgun in a tragic double murder.
The snowy haired, 82-year-old defendant, used his walking stick to show members of the jury how he walked through the farmhouse with the loaded gun on the fateful day.
Lowe, who appeared in court wearing a tweed jacket, shirt, and red tie, revealed that the safety catch was NOT on.
"I had it tucked under my arm and had my hand underneath it," he told the jury at Guildford Crown Court.
"In all my life I have never done anything so stupid. You never walk in doors with a gun loaded."
The frail pensioner found himself having to walk through the house with the loaded weapon after finding the rear door locked from the outside.
Lowe, who has undergone a triple heart by-pass and a knee replacement, told how he formed the view to shot the dogs a week before the fateful day over fears one of the animals would kill Lucy.
"I kept putting it off,"he said.
"....Christine kept saying you better shoot that grey dog or it's going to kill Lucy.
"Lucy didn't want me to shoot anything.
"Lucy was a townie and wasn't a farmer or a farming person."
Lowe said he had loaded the gun, which he normally used to shoot rats, in the kitchen.
The jury was previously told how stepdaughter Lucy, aged 40 years, made a "frightened and frantic" 999 call to police saying that Lowe had killed her mother and she was "running for her life."
The jury heard that Lowe met Christine Lee when she brought a puppy from him for her daughters.
He said they started a relationship from the first moment they met, despite him already living with partner Susanna Wilson.
He said the initial relationship "didn't work out at all," after Christine moved into Keepers cottage.
She returned again to look after Lowe, who walks with the aid of a walking stick, after he fell on hard times.
His long term partner Susanna Wilson had died in 2013 and he lost his licence to breed dogs at the farm.
"Christine's intention was to look after me," he said.
"She meant very well but it was not the same way as in the past."
Stacy Banner, the sister of victim Lucy, sat in the public gallery.
Lowe denies two counts of murder and a further count of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
The trial continues.