Cheryl Hooper murder case: I just wanted to scare her, says accused husband

A Shropshire farmer who shot his estranged wife dead outside her Newport home told a jury that he intended to frighten her not kill her.

Andrew Hooper, known as Jack, is alleged to have shot Cheryl Hooper in the neck and arm on January 26 last year outside her new home, in Farmers Gate, Newport, before turning his shotgun on himself.

The defendant, who cannot speak due to severe facial injuries, used a keyboard to give evidence and told the court he had hoped the marriage could have been saved after his wife of 18 months moved out.

He shot her following a confrontation at a pub while she was out with a group of friends including a man he accused her of having an affair with, the court heard.

Hooper told the court that he recognised the man when he got to the pub, in Wolverhampton.

The case so far:

Mr Philip Bradley, defending, asked him: “Did you reach the conclusion that they were together?”

Hooper replied that he did and that he “inferred” they may be having an affair.

He went on to tell the jury that he returned to his home - Guild of Monks Farm near Newport - before heading to Mrs Hooper’s house with the shotgun at 10.45pm.

Hooper admitted that he loaded the shotgun, but he could not recall when he did that. And said that he could not “clearly recall all the events” of the evening.

Purpose

He said when he arrived outside the house he could see Mrs Hooper in the car and her teenage daughter. He said he approached the vehicle carrying the shot gun.

Mr Bradley asked: “Tell the jury please, what was the purpose of approaching the car with a shotgun?”

Hooper replied: “To frighten Cheryl.”

Mr Bradley asked: “Why? What did you want Cheryl to do?”

Hooper replied: “To leave the other man and reconcile our marriage.”

He was also asked: “Did you intend to kill your wife?

Hooper replied: “No”

Police activity at the scene in Newport

The defendant told the court that he accepted that two live shots were discharged from the weapon into her.

He said: “I live everyday knowing that I am responsible for her death which is not a good feeling. I am not guilty of killing her though.”

Hooper, 46, of Guild Lane, Sutton near Newport denies murder. He is accused of shooting Mrs Hooper, 51, in front of her daughter despite some weeks earlier signing over all his licensed guns to a friend after three suicide attempts.

The case continues at Birmingham Crown Court.

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