Farmer, 83, cleared over shooting man on his land

An 83-year-old farmer who shot a man on his farm has been cleared of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Kenneth Hugill, of Mill House Farm, Wilberfoss, near York, shot Richard Stables injuring him in the foot on 13 November 2015.

Mr Stables, 44, had claimed he had stumbled onto the farm accidentally and was not planning to steal diesel.

Mr Hugill told Hull Crown Court he had been “petrified” and thought Mr Stables’ car was going to kill him.

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In evidence, he told the jury he had gone to bed with his wife at around 21:00 GMT, but was woken by a light at the window at around 02:00.

He then got dressed, got his shotgun and went outside.

“I walked across what I thought was the front of a vehicle,” he said.

“It revved up loudly and drove towards me. It petrified me. I did not see any people. I heard nothing at all.”

Mr Hugill, who uses a walking stick and a hearing aid, said he had fired one shot at the side of the vehicle and another into the air.

He had he said not intended to hurt anyone but merely intended to frighten them off.

The jury took 24 minutes to clear him.

Speaking outside court, Mr Hugill said he was very pleased with the verdict.

“It’s marvellous. We thought I shouldn’t have been prosecuted right from the start, I didn’t feel it was justified at the time.

“I pulled the trigger because I thought that car was going to kill me.”

The court had already heard that Mr Stables, from Bradford, claimed he was out hunting rabbits with a friend, who was driving.

Mr Stables and the driver, Adrian Barron from Oldham, both have convictions for burglary and theft.

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