Published: 11:50, 20 November 2018
| Updated: 08:02, 21 November 2018
A cheating wife, her lover and his daughter will spend life in prison after plotting to kill a man, shooting him in the face at a marina.
Glenn Pollard will serve a minimum of 17 years while Hayley Weatherall and Heather Pollard will spend at least 15 years inside for plotting to kill Hayley's husband Ray.
Judge Adele Williams indicated before submissions were made she was considering an indeterminate sentence because of “the course of conduct involved and multiple attempts to murder”.
In response to Isabella Forshall, QC for Weatherall, submitting such a sentence was inappropriate, the judge said: “I think you completely misunderstand the gravity of the crime that has been committed.”
Miss Forshall said the dangerousness element was not crossed and asserted the three were “normal people who completely lost their wits”.
“They are people who in the ordinary circumstances of their lives pose no risk to the public,” she said. “They are not people who have some entrenched trait in the way they function which means they pose a danger to others.
“If you think of the banal life history of my client you can see she is somebody who shows no history of offending at all until these events.
“We submit the threat she poses is specific to her husband in the context of the relationship with Glenn Pollard.”
Miss Forshall said of Weatherall being considered a danger: “We submit you should not in a month of Sundays take that view any way.
“There is no evidence she drove the conspiracy. Her low intelligence and pattern of life shows she is not the driver. This is not a woman who poses any sort of danger.
“This is a woman who lost her wit in the throes of passion and poses no threat to the public whatsoever."
After Miss Forshall produced a letter to the court from Mr Weatherall, the judge said: “This bears all the marks of in some way being procured on behalf of your defendant and I take a dim view of that.”
Passing sentence, Judge Adele Williams said: “This was cruelty of a high degree – cold, calculated and chilling cruelty.
“You conspired to murder a man because he stood in your way. That man was your husband, Hayley Weatherall, your best friend of over 20 years Glenn Pollard and your Uncle Ray, your father’s best friend and a man you had known all your life, Heather Pollard.
"Each of you plotted and planned to kill him with determination and persistence.”
“This was cruelty of a high degree – cold, calculated and chilling cruelty..." Judge Williams
The judge said Weatherall and Glenn Pollard pursued their affair with intensity, sending each other explicit texts and exchanging sexual photos.
Pollard, she said, decided the only way he and Weatherall could be together was for her husband to be killed.
“You, Hayley Weatherall, saw your future with Glenn Pollard. You were impatient for your husband to die, telling a relative in July 2017: ‘I can’t wait for him to die.’
“You, Heather Pollard, were so desperate for your father’s approval you joined this conspiracy with enthusiasm. You were prepared to kill for him."
There were three “determined and sophisticated” attempts to kill the victim – an occasion when Heather Pollard went to shoot him in Rainham, when he was actually shot and an attempt to poison him by giving the diabetic an insulin overdose.
“These were carefully planned and very nearly succeeded,” said Judge Williams.
Pollard in November last year instructed his then 19-year-old daughter to shoot Mr Weatherall, and cynically ensured he had an alibi by being at work on a farm.
Heather Pollard took her father’s .22 rimfire rifle and lay in wait for about five hours until she could take a shot at the victim across the River Stour at the marina.
If the bullet struck the carotid artery or jugular vein, he would have died. He bled profusely form the mouth, nose and ear.
The judge said Hayley Weatherall knew of the plan and agreed to it. As she sat at her husband’s hospital bedside, she sent a text to her lover saying: “They didn’t do a very good job, he’s still alive.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard Mr Weatherall, 53, was shot in the face by Heather Pollard after other attempts to kill him failed.
As well as the shooting, there were efforts to poison him, burn him in an explosion and drown him while out fishing, said the prosecution.
“The central allegation in this case is that in the months between the summer of 2017 and early spring of 2018, each of these three defendants agreed that Raymond Weatherall should be murdered, and each of them took steps to carry out that agreement,” said prosecutor Simon Taylor.
“These steps went beyond mere planning and culminated in serious attempts on Mr Weatherall’s life. Fortunately, their planning and subsequent efforts to murder him were unsuccessful.”
“The extent of the planning, preparation and the extreme lengths to which each of you was prepared to go is staggering, and informs the court as to the level of risk you pose in the future,” the judge continued.
“You, Glenn Pollard, were the prime mover. Your orchestrated this conspiracy, which lasted approximately 10 months. You drew your daughter and your lover into this conspiracy.
“You must bear a heavy responsibility for that. I conclude that you are a ruthless and arrogant man. You were convinced you would not be caught.”
“These steps went beyond mere planning and culminated in serious attempts on Mr Weatherall’s life..." Judge Williams
Weatherall was infatuated with Pollard and as late as March 5 this year was expressing undying love for him in a phone call while he was in custody and she was still at liberty.
The judge said she concluded that Weatherall was a highly manipulative and selfish person. She concluded that Heather Pollard was cold and calculating as she gave a false account to the police.
Mr Weatherall’s letter to the court indicated he still found it difficult to accept the full extent of the crime against him.
“I have no doubt that in due course he will be left with an immense sense of betrayal,” said the judge. “A sense of betrayal that will blight the final years of his life.
“He will know that those closest to him conspired to kill him instead of giving him the love and support he needed in his battle against cancer.
“His adult children have already been deeply affected. His younger children will be affected for the rest of their lives.”
The only real mitigating feature was that none of the three had any previous convictions.
Judge Williams said Hayley Weatherall committed the greatest breach of trust, plotting with her lover and his daughter to kill her husband.
Heather Pollard’s age and personal circumstances were largely outweighed by the fact she was the one who shot the victim and came closest to killing him.
“I bear in mind that a sentence of imprisonment for life is a sentence of last resort,” said Judge Williams. “I have come to the conclusion this crime is so grave that only a sentence of imprisonment for life is justified.
“I believe each of you will remain a serious danger to the public for a period which cannot reliably be estimated at the present time.
“I also conclude that such will be the revulsion and horror felt by right thinking members of the public at this crime that only a sentence of imprisonment for life is justified.”
The judge said the notional determinate term that would have been imposed for Glenn Pollard was 34 years, and 30 years each for his daughter and Weatherall.
“The effect of this is you will not be considered for parole until you have served the minimum term,” she added. “You may serve longer than the minimum term. You may never be released.”
Weatherall wept as she was led to the cells with Pollard and his daughter.
Ray Weatherall was earlier heard saying as he sat in the public gallery: “I’ve told her to keep her chin up.”
Glenn Pollard, 49, Heather Pollard, 20, both of Church Lane, West Stourmouth, near Canterbury, and Wetherall, 32, of Molland Lee, Ash, all denied conspiracy to murder.
Mr Taylor said the motive for wanting to kill Mr Weatherall was his wife’s affair with Pollard, assisted by his daughter, who calls herself Arthur, and was described as “a real daddy’s girl” who idolised her father.
“It seems that Glen Pollard didn’t feel he could accomplish this goal on his own and so he recruited his seemingly devoted daughter to assist them on their mission,” he told the jury of eight men and four women.
Attempts on Mr Weatherall’s life were passed off as accidents, unfortunate events or harmless coincidences.
It was only when he was shot in the face – the bullet passing through his right cheek and out of the left cheek - in November last year that the police really became involved.
Even at the point of the shooting the trail remained cold until the affair was revealed in January this year. It was then that the bigger picture emerged, said Mr Taylor.
Hayley and Raymond Weatherall married in December 2015 and had three children together.
He had been diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2015 and the following year was given only 18 months to live. He was also diabetic and needed daily insulin injections.
Mr Weatherall and Glenn Pollard had been friends for more than 20 years and went shooting together. Pollard also legitimately owned guns.
Mr Weatherall was Heather Pollard’s great uncle. She had access to her father’s firearms kept unsecured at their home and was aware of her father’s affair with Weatherall.
Police had retrieved a Facebook message to her from Weatherall in October last year saying: “Hey hun, I just wanna say a massive thank you for keeping your dad and my secret. It means a lot to me xxx.”
Weatherall was to confess to the police about knowing of the attempts to kill her husband. .
There was an earlier plan for Heather Weatherall to shoot the victim in Rainham, a “command” by Glenn Pollard to Weatherall to poison him with an insulin overdose and an aborted plan to push him overboard during a fishing trip on a boat they co-owned.
The shooting happened at the marina on Wednesday, November 29 when Mr Weatherall was working at a boatyard by the River Stour with his son Sam and daughter Jade, cutting branches from a tree.
Mr Weatherall was standing by the riverbank when he was hit. The bullet entered his right cheek between his temple and jaw. Despite the injury, he remained conscious.
Jade made a 999 call at 2.02pm. Paramedics arrived 25 minutes later and he was taken to hospital. Because of Mr Weatherall’s brain tumour, the bullet fragments have not been removed.
A pathologist concluded that if there had been a minor deviation of the bullet, it could have proved fatal.
When police arrived on the scene at 3.04pm no firearms or ammunition were found.
“In essence, this was an investigation which yielded few leads,” said Mr Taylor.
“This has been a difficult and demanding case...” Judge Williams
A breakthrough came on January 17 this year when a niece of Mr Weatherall’s, Emma Worsfold, contacted the police and told of her growing suspicions that Pollard and his daughter were involved in the shooting after she became aware of the affair.
Heather Pollard’s car had been left with her dog inside close to the marina. A witness was concerned for the dog and called the police at about 12 noon.
Two Community Support Police Officers removed the dog from the Citroen at 1.15pm. Heather Pollard’s father was contacted and he assured officers she was safe, but added her dog had been stolen.
Told that the dog was safe, Pollard said his daughter had forgotten about it.
A witness told police she had seen the car drive off at speed at about 2.08pm – six minutes after the 999 call reporting the shooting.
CCTV showed she was not at work at the time of the shooting. As a young driver, her car was fitted with a tracker which enabled her movements to be checked.
It showed her car was close to the marina at 8.29am and remained there until 2.07pm.
Mr Taylor said the bank opposite where Mr Weatherall was working was the likely location for the sniper shot. An officer walked between the car and the bank and found it took four minutes.
It seemed Glenn Pollard was not at the marina on the day of the shooting, he said, and must have been orchestrating the murder attempt from afar.
Weatherall was also some distance from the marina but was in regular contact with Glenn Pollard during the day.
The daughter sent a text message to her father on November 20 when he was working with Mr Weatherall felling trees in Rainham.
It said: “Not sure I can get through all brambles, will try another route, but maybe think of another option xxx”
They also had a text conversation about how to cause sepsis and injecting someone with insulin after giving them knock out pills.
Heather Pollard’s phone also showed internet searches for methods on how to kill someone. They included “Techniques of silent killing”, “Creative ways to kill someone”, “Insulin shock”, “Sepsis”, “Cyanide poisoning” and “How to kill someone via a wound”.
In police interviews, Weatherall blamed Glenn Pollard for ruining her life.
Neither she nor her co-accused gave evidence.
Exempting jurors from further jury service, Judge Williams said: “This has been a difficult and demanding case.”