Ex-hunt master Brian Fraser denies shooting ex-lover Louise Leggatt
Brian Fraser of
Shadoxhurst Ashford is accused of attempting to murder show jumper
A former hunt master accused of shooting his ex-lover after she
rebuffed him has denied he ever tried to rekindle the romance after
he left her.
Balding Brian Fraser said he had no regrets about the five-year
relationship with Louise Leggett ending.
“I never considered I might have made a mistake,” he told a
jury. “I never made any overtures to her about giving it another
Fraser, 63, of Criol Lands Farm, Shadoxhurst, Ashford, was
starting his evidence at Maidstone Crown Court, where he denies
The prosecution alleges the farming contractor lurked in bushes
at night and blasted Mrs Leggatt in the thigh and abdomen.
The 54-year-old show jumper believed her former husband Philip
Gorringe, 62, had previously set fire to her home and at first
suspected him of the attack.
But although he was initially arrested, police eventually
The former joint master of Ashford Valley Hunt at first claimed
he neither had a gun nor had gone out on the evening of the
shooting, March 15 last year.
But a single barrel shotgun was found at his home and CCTV there
revealed he had driven out and returned around the time Mrs Leggatt
The mother-of-two was renting premises at Bramleys, 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 and at about 9.30pm went outside
to see to her horses.
She heard a gunshot and screamed as she realised she had been
hit. She managed to crawl back into home and call 999.
Maidstone Crown Court,
where the case is being heard
She was taken to Pembury Hospital, where she was treated for
wounds to her right upper thigh and lower abdomen.
Mrs Leggatt told police she suspected Mr Gorringe, from whom she
had a bitter split.
Fraser said he had been married to Nannette for 26 years and
lived at Criol Lands Farm all his life, apart from living with Mrs
Leggatt at Pippins from 2006 to 2011.
He met Mrs Leggatt through the hunt which he had been involved
in for 50 years.
He said of the split: “It was my decision to move away. I felt
we had grown apart. We still had the same interest as far as the
equestrian side was concerned, but we drifted apart.”
Fraser agreed he spent long periods away from Mrs Leggatt
running his 53-acre farm. “I accept I neglected the relationship
with Mrs Leggatt,” he said.
“I didn’t help financially with the household. I paid a little
bit towards food and that sort of thing. I think she knew I was not
a wealthy sort of chap.
Fraser denied he had ever lost his temper or been “physical”
with Mrs Leggatt, as she had claimed. “No, not at all,” he said. “I
never struck her".
"I thought we were still friends. We didn't fall out. I was always concerned for her well-being" – Brian Fraser
He held her arms
once, he said, when she was in a bad mood and “having a bit of a
He described their relationship as “quite amicable” after they
parted and said he offered help with chores like splitting
“I thought we were still friends,” he continued. “We didn’t fall
out. I was always concerned for her wellbeing.”
Fraser said he never sent Mrs Leggatt flowers during their
relationship but did so on Valentine’s Day last year after the
“I thought she would be emotional and upset, as anyone would
be,” he said. “I bought her flowers because she still seemed down
and I thought it might cheer her up a bit.”
Asked by his lawyer Ian Henderson if he accepted it had a
connotation of romance, he replied: “Yes, but I am not that kind of
chap. I knew it was Valentine’s Day but it was not for that
purpose. If it had been the 15th or 16th I would have done just the
Earlier in the case, Mrs Leggatt's ex-husband Philip Gorringe
(pictured below) told the court he was interviewed several times
about the shooting. “I was locked in a cell for three days,” he
told the jury.
Mr Gorringe said he believed he was at home all day on March 15
when Mrs Leggatt was shot. He agreed he did not see anybody that
day who could confirm where he was at 9.30pm that evening.
Asked about his interest in firearms by Ian
Henderson, defending, he said he had shotguns but did not have a
certificate. The guns were kept by a friend.
“I haven’t shot since 2005,” he continued. “It is not correct my
certificate was withdrawn because of an incident with Louise.”
He agreed that when he was arrested on March 16 police found 488
cartridges. “I told them they were there,” he said. “Some were
spent shotgun cartridges. I have already explained that to the
“I said I found the cartridges in a wood while walking my dogs.
They have been checked with forensics and have nothing to do with
Asked by Mr Henderson if he retained an interest in weapons, he
replied: “No, I haven’t shot since 2005. I would not have had
access to a shotgun on March 15."
Mr Gorringe said he and Mrs Leggatt had property in Devon when
they were married, which they visited regularly.
Asked about him demanding about £750,000 from Mrs Leggatt, he
said he wanted his shares back and denied he was bullying her.
He denied he had ever referred to his ex-wife as “Legover
Leggatt”, adding: “I was aware of that phrase.”
Mr Gorringe said he understood Mrs Leggatt’s first marriage
ended because of adultery.
The trial continues.
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