Published: 11:06, 15 November 2018
| Updated: 17:47, 15 November 2018
A cheating wife, her lover and his daughter are facing long jail sentences after being convicted of a murder plot where a man was shot in the face at a marina.
Hayley Weatherall plotted with Glenn Pollard and Heather Pollard to kill her husband Ray, despite him being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The three denied the charge but were unanimously convicted by a jury of eight men and four women.
They were remanded in custody and sentencing was adjourned until next Tuesday, November 20.
Judge Adele Williams told the three, who showed no reaction to the verdicts, which were reached after more than 20 hours: “You have been convicted on clear and compelling evidence.”
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.”
Glenn Pollard, 49, Heather Pollard, 20, both of Church Lane, West Stourmouth, near Canterbury, and Wetherall, 32, of Molland Lee, Ash, all deny 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.
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.”