Cheryl Hooper murder case: Jury is shown old shotgun

A jury has been shown the weapon allegedly used by a farmer accused of murdering his estranged wife outside her Newport home.

Cheryl Hooper
Cheryl Hooper

Andrew Hooper, known as Jack, is alleged to have attacked 51-year-old Cheryl Hooper on January 26 last year outside her new home in the town before turning the shotgun on himself.

He allegedly fired the shot despite some weeks earlier signing over all his licensed guns to a friend after three suicide attempts.

Giving evidence for the prosecution, firearms expert Natalie Woodcock told the jury that the 12-bore double barrelled shotgun had been recovered bloodstained by officers from Hooper’s bedroom.

Mrs Woodcock said that manufactured in the 1800s, the shotgun was in a poor condition and showed signs of rust.

Police activity at the scene in Newport

She said Mrs Hooper, who married the defendant in 2016, had wounds to her neck and right arm.

Mrs Woodcock said the neck wound was “consistent” with being shot at close range from about five feet from the end of the muzzle.

The case so far:

She demonstrated to the jury how Mrs Hooper was likely to have been positioned in her Land Rover.

“She must have had her arm quite close to her chest because the arm was the area that got the most damage,” Mrs Woodcock told the court.

She showed the jury photographs of the workings of a shotgun and said the cartridge fired from the weapon in the case contained between 300 to 350 pellets, which were about 2mm in diameter.

Police activity at the scene in Newport

The jury has also heard evidence from family friend Glenn Lockwood, who carried out work at the defendant’s Guild of Monks Farm, in Sutton, on the Staffordshire border.

Mr Lockwood said he had a “chin wag” with Hooper on January 25, the day before the tragedy.

He said Hooper lost a lot of weight and seemed keen to get back with Mrs Hooper.

Under cross-examination by Mr Phillip Bradley QC, defending, he said Hooper suspected that his wife was having an affair, but no names were mentioned to him.

Mr Lockwood said: “I did mention marriage guidance, but Jack didn’t seem to think that Cheryl was interested.

He added that Hooper, who survived the self-inflicted injuries, said that he loved her.

Police activity at the scene in Newport

The 46-year-old farmer is accused of shooting the mother-of-one in the neck in front of her teenage daughter after ambushing her at her property, in Farmers Gate, Newport, shortly after 11pm on January 26, 2018.

Jurors, who were also shown photos and CCTV footage, heard that he was able to follow the movements of his wife after fitting a tracking device to her vehicle.

The court was told he confronted her in the Crown Pub, in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, earlier that night accusing her of being there to meet a man with whom she was allegedly having an affair.

She told him the allegation were untrue, the jury heard.

Hooper, who was left with severe facial injuries and can no longer speak, denies murder.

The trial continues at Birmingham Crown Court.

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