Jury out in trial of Ashford hunt master Brian Fraser accused of trying to murder ex-lover Louise Leggatt
Brian Fraser is accused
of attempting to murder showjumper Louise Leggatt, pictured right
by Jim Bennett
by Keith Hunt
A jury has today retired to consider a verdict in the trial of a
hunt master accused of trying to kill his ex-lover by shooting her
as she tended her horses.
Contract farmer Brian Fraser is alleged to have lurked in bushes
at night and blasted Louise Leggatt in the thigh and abdomen.
The 54-year-old showjumper believed her former husband Philip
Gorringe, 62, had previously set fire to her home and at first
suspected him of the attack.
He was arrested and later released and Fraser was then charged
with attempted murder.
Maidstone Crown Court heard the 63-year-old joint master of
Ashford Valley Hunt at first claimed he neither had a gun nor had
gone out on the evening of the shooting.
"There were no witnesses to the shooting... she saw nothing and nobody else saw anything...” – Ian Acheson, prosecuting
But a single barrelled shotgun was found at his home in
Shadoxhurst, Ashford, and CCTV there revealed he had driven out and
returned around the time Mrs Leggatt was wounded.
The mother-of-two was renting a house at Apple Pie Farm in
Benenden after her house, Pippins, next door was burnt down two
months before on January 18.
She returned home from her job as a receptionist at a veterinary
surgery in Hawkhurst on March 15 last year and at about 9.30pm went
outside to see to her horses.
Mrs Leggatt heard a gunshot and screamed as she realised
she had been shot. She managed to crawl back into the house and
Armed police despatched to the house made sure it was safe for
paramedics to enter before Mrs Leggatt could be taken to Pembury
Hospital, where she was treated for injuries to her right upper
thigh and lower abdomen.
There was "widespread" shot in her abdomen and
bowel, but she made a good recovery and was discharged on March
"There were no witnesses to the shooting," said Ian Acheson,
prosecuting. "She saw nothing and nobody else saw anything."
Mrs Leggatt told police she suspected Mr Gorringe, pictured
right, from whom she had a bitter split.
Fraser denied shooting Mrs Leggatt or burning down her house. He
claimed he lied about not going out the evening she was shot and
not having a shotgun because he was "in a state of shock and
He told the jury he had gone out to collect a debt.
He said of the lies: "It was just sheer panic, that's all. I do
apologise. I know I should have come clean earlier, but it was
He was "gobsmacked" about the fire, he said, and shocked about
Fraser, of Criol Farmhouse, Criol Lane, Shadoxhurst, Ashford,
denies attempted murder. He admits possessing a shotgun without a
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