Man remanded over lawyer murder bid

A businessman has appeared in court charged with the attempted murder of a solicitor.

Michael Chudley, 62, is accused of shooting James Ward, 58, with a sawn-off shotgun at the offices of Morris, Goddard & Ward in Devizes, Wiltshire, on Monday afternoon.

Mr Ward, known to his family and friends as Jim, was left fighting for his life following the incident and remains seriously ill.

The married father of three, who is the principal solicitor of the firm in St John's Street, was treated by an off-duty paramedic and airlifted by the Great Western Air Ambulance to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

Mr Ward, from Westbury, Wilts, suffered life-threatening head injuries and is in a very serious condition in hospital with his family at his bedside.

Chudley, of no fixed address, was arrested by armed police shortly after the incident in the nearby village of Rowde.

He is accused of the attempted murder of Mr Ward, making threats to kill to Daphne Courtney, possession of a sawn-off shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence to Daphne Courtney and carrying a firearm with criminal intent to commit an indictable offence, namely murder.

The charges are alleged to have happened in Devizes on July 2.

The balding property developer, who sat between two dock officers, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address during the 10-minute hearing at Salisbury Magistrates' Court.

Richard Griffiths, representing Chudley, did not make an application for bail. Chairman of the bench Antony Ebel remanded Chudley in custody to appear at Winchester Crown Court on July 18.