Husband 'shot wife' as she ate breakfast

AN UNFAITHFUL husband blasted his wife to death with a single shot from a 12 bore shotgun after she threatened to publicly disgrace him, it was alleged yesterday .

AN UNFAITHFUL husband blasted his wife to death with a single shot from a 12 bore shotgun after she threatened to publicly disgrace him, it was alleged yesterday .

Glenda Walker, 63, had been eating her breakfast when her husband John, who had been having an affair, shot her at close range, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Shortly before the couple, who had been married for 40 years, had been having a heated argument during which Mrs Walker allegedly threatened to take her husband "for all he had" in their impending divorce and to "drag his name through the local community", said Karim Khalil, prosecuting.

Walker, 66, a member of the Deben Yacht Club, had walked out of the dining room of their Great Bealings home and through the house to a locked gun cabinet.

Having removed a 12 bore shotgun he loaded it with a cartridge and returned to the dining room where his wife was still eating her breakfast.

"He walked all the way down the room to the end of the table until the gun muzzle must have been three or four feet away from her. He aimed it at her and shot her. She was blown over onto the floor and died on the spot," said Mr Khalil.

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He said it was clear from injuries to her arms and hand that Mrs Walker had seen what was coming to her and had done her best to defend herself against her husband.

Walker, who denies murdering his wife on November 12, 2002, had then unloaded the empty cartridge before putting the gun back in its cabinet.

He had then walked around the garden of his cottage in Lodge Road, Great Bealings, near Woodbridge for about 20 minutes before dialling 999 and telling the operator "I have just committed a murder".

When asked why he had done it he told the operator "I was just overcome with anger", said Mr Khalil.

He told the jury that he anticipated that Walker's defence would be that at the time of the shooting he was suffering from diminished responsibility and did not have proper control over what he was doing.

He said medical experts would have evidence about their assessment of Walker's mental state at the time of the killing.

Outlining the background to the case, Mr Khalil said the couple had married in 1961 and had two children, Jane and Adrian.

He said that in police interviews Walker had described himself as being intellectually superior to his wife and said that while he had a successful career his wife, who had worked as a registrar, had been more of a homemaker.

Their relationship had become strained after Mrs Walker underwent a triple heart by-pass operation which caused her to slow down considerably.

"He had always been the more physically active of the two. This caused him some sense of resentment because she wasn't able or willing to go along with physical pursuits such as walking," said Mr Khalil.

The couple began going to ballroom dancing and their relationship fell apart when Walker met another woman and started a relationship with her.

Mrs Walker had become suspicious and hired a private investigator to find out what was going on. As a result of her husband's infidelity, the Walkers separated in 2000.

Mrs Walker moved out and wanted to start divorce proceedings but was persuaded to give her husband another chance after he begged her not to leave him, said Mr Khalil.

He read the jury a passage from a letter written by Walker to his wife in which he said "I repeat that I am desperately sorry for what I have done and would do anything to be forgiven and for you to come home".

However, after Mrs Walker's return and despite his promises, Walker started seeing the same woman again, the court heard.

When Mrs Walker found out that the relationship was continuing she made up her mind to leave her husband.

The couple continued living in the same house but led separate lives with them sleeping in different rooms and cooking their own meals.

In 2002, Mrs Walker announced that she wanted a divorce and said she wanted the way their property was owned to be changed so that if either of them died they could leave their share to whoever they wanted rather than to each other.

On November 11 – the day before Mrs Walker's death – Walker had received documents from his wife's solicitors about the matter which he refused to sign.

Mr Khalil said Walker had turned up at his solicitor's office without an appointment seeking further advice.

That evening he went to a meeting of the Deben Association with a friend who later told police he had not noticed anything wrong with Walker.

During police interviews, Walker said he had a disturbed night's sleep because he was going over financial matters in his mind and in the morning he and his wife had both awoken early and prepared their own breakfasts.

Mrs Walker went into the dining room and sat at the table with the cloth partially laid out and her breakfast set out in front of her.

Walker had gone into the room and challenged his wife about the correspondence he had received from her solicitor.

Mr Khalil said: "He asserts that an argument began because she started to goad him by saying she would take him for all he had, that she would set their children against him and that their grandchildren wouldn't want to see him".

She is also alleged to have said she would "drag his name through the local community and everyone would know what he had done".

Mr Khalil claimed that when Walker fired the gun at his wife he had intended to kill her. "This was murder," he said.

"We say that this defendant got it absolutely right when he rang the 999 services. He had just murdered his wife. He had done it because he was so angry. He felt himself driven to it not because he suffered from an abnormality of the mind but because it was what he wanted and meant to do".

The trial continues today.

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