Brian Fraser accused of trying to kill former lover, 54
Court told he hid in bushes outside her farmhouse before shooting her
63-year-old denies attempted murder but admitted possessing a firearm without a licence
By Claire Ellicott
31 January 2013
A marrried master of fox hounds shot his ex-lover after she rejected his bid to rekindle their romance, a court heard yesterday.
Brian Fraser is accused of attempting to murder showjumper Louise Leggatt ‘in a fit of pique’ after she declined to let him watch a horse race with her on television at her house.
Days later, Miss Leggatt, 54, was blasted by a shotgun as she went to tend to her horses.
Two months earlier, an arson attack had gutted her detached home in the exclusive Kent village of Benenden, forcing her to rent another property next door.
The divorced mother of two had a five-year affair with Fraser after they met through the Ashford Valley Hunt in Kent in 2006, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
They split up in October 2011 when Fraser, 64, went back to live with his wife in Shadoxhurst near Ashford.
But last year he bought Valentine’s Day flowers for Miss Leggatt, the court heard.
Then a few days before the shooting last March he brought her a box of chocolates when he arrived to help her move some boxes.
Ian Acheson, prosecuting, said: ‘He tried to give her a cuddle or kiss. She did not reciprocate. They went back to her home where she made him coffee and they chatted.
‘These people are fond of horses and members of the hunt and it was the Cheltenham Festival.
‘Louise said that as she was working, she would record the Gold Cup at which Fraser suggested that he come round and they watch it together over a Chinese. When she declined that suggestion, he was miffed and made a jibe or barbed comment as he was leaving.’
Six minutes before leaving his house on the night of the shooting, the court heard, Fraser sent Miss Leggatt a text message, angrily telling her not to ‘make any excuses’ about not watching the Gold Cup the following day with him.
Denial: Fraser, denies attempting to murder Ms Leggatt but has admitted possessing a firearm without a firearms licence between March 14 and 17
Mr Acheson said: ‘In a fit of pique, and with the Gold Cup reunion dragged from under his feet, he sent a text message before trying to kill her, a woman who was causing him pain and rage.’
The court heard that the master of fox hounds lied to police twice, having initially denied owning a shotgun and that he had left his house on the night of the shooting.
But a shotgun and cartridges found at his farm were compatible with the weapon with which Miss Leggatt was shot, and Fraser was captured on his own CCTV leaving his home around the time of the shooting, the court heard.
Fraser denies attempting to murder Miss Leggatt on March 15, 2012. She was left with fragments of shot in her bowel and pelvis, but has made a good recovery.
Mr Acheson told the court that Miss Leggatt was at her house that night in Benenden, which is home to the public school of the same name where Princess Anne was educated.
He said: ‘At about 9.30pm she was going to go outside to tend to her horses. She emerged and turned on the patio lights. Her dog was barking and had clearly seen something. His hackles were up. She shone a torch but before she could see or did see anything, she screamed as she realised she’d been shot.’
Initially, Miss Leggatt accused her ex-husband Philip Gorringe, as she blamed him for the arson attack. He was arrested, but Fraser was later arrested and charged. The trial continues.