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Farmer cleared of shotgun offence

PUBLISHED: 16:19 11 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:11 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK farmer who fired four shots after seeing trespassers on his land has been cleared of an offence of affray.

After the verdict Lindford Dakin spoke of his relief and said he couldn't believe the matter had come to court.

By JANE HUNT

jane.hunt@eveningstar.co.uk

A SUFFOLK farmer who fired four shots after seeing trespassers on his land has been cleared of an offence of affray.

After the verdict Lindford Dakin spoke of his relief and said he couldn't believe the matter had come to court.

During a one-day trial at Ipswich Crown Court, Dakin claimed he fired the shots into the air to raise the alarm and denied he was trying to warn the intruders off his land.

Dakin, 34, of Harlica Farm, Sowley Green, Great Thurlow, had denied an offence of affray.

A jury took less than half an hour to find him not guilty.

Duncan O'Donnell prosecuting told the court that police were alerted after a member of the public who stopped to urinate on a farm track claimed he had been shot at.

Peter Dorling of Haverhill had been returning home with his partner Denise Garnham after a night out in Bury St Edmunds when he needed the toilet.

Miss Garnham stopped the car in a lay by and Mr Dorling walked along a farm track to a bush and started to relieve himself.

As he did so he saw two people running across the skyline about 150 yards away and almost immediately heard three loud bangs.

As a former member of the Territorial Army, he recognised the sound as a shotgun being discharged.

Giving evidence Mr Dorling claimed that after hearing the first bang something had whistled over his head. Altogether he heard three shots being fired and had been "shocked".

He got back into his car and told his partner that he had just been shot at. They had driven off and had reported what had happened to the police.

Giving evidence Dakin said he had fired four shots into the air from his shotgun after seeing trespassers on his land.

He said he had later found some damage to a vehicle in his yard.

He claimed he had fired the shots to raise the alarm with a neighbouring gamekeeper and had not been trying to warn off the intruders.

John Bloomfield, a firearms expert called by the defence, said that in his opinion Mr Dorling had not been in any danger if Dakin had fired his shot gun into the air in the way he claimed he had.

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