'Terrified' homeowner did not mean to shoot burglar

Worcester News: Malcolm White and Josephine Merrick Malcolm White and Josephine Merrick

A farmhouse owner who shot and injured a potential burglar at his home has told a court he was "terrified" during the attempted break-in and thought he was going to be robbed.

Malcolm White, aged 64, took to the stand at Worcester Crown Court for the first time today, where he denied intentially injuring Robert Richards when he and two others tried to break in to the house at Stocking Gobbetts, Whitbourne, on October 5, 2011.

He told the jury he had only meant to fire a warning shot to scare the men off after they had smashed the front window of the house.

"I thought I shot in the air but the accidental thing is he went and got shot. Sorry. Apparently, I hit him, but I didn't mean to," he said.

"I was intending just to frighten him off."

Cable ties which could be used to bind hands and feet were found at the scene, the jury have been told.

Prosecutor Simon Phillips told the court White had "fired first, before asking any questions" because he had known the burglars were after his stash of the Class B drug.

White denied this, and said he had "no idea" at the time what they were after, but suspected it could be his £35,000 leased Audi or his collection of valuable Grandfather clocks. He did not think it was the cannabis, he said. "There were three rooms and there was a significant investment required to set up these three rooms - you estimated to the police around £20,000," Mr Phillips said to White.

"This was quite a sophisticated set-up. Over a year, this cannabis could be worth between £50,000 to £60,000.

"This was you protecting your valuables."

White replied: "This was me protecting my loved ones, and my little dogs.

"I was terrified at the time.

"I don't know what you would say to someone who was smashing their way into your house."

He denied saying "I wish I had finished him off" after firing the shotgun, and denied that he had become "nervous" about becoming a target in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

He said some of the unlicensed firearms found in his home had belonged to his father, who died 18 years ago, and he had kept them due to his own interest in firearms.

He disagreed with the suggestion that he had kept loaded guns around his home for protection.

White denies one charge of unlawful wounding.

The trial continues.


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