‘I snatched at trig­ger and the gun went off ac­ci­den­tally’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

KENNETH Batch­e­lor told the court he pulled the trig­ger of a shot­gun ac­ci­den­tally when blast­ing an in­truder in the chest at point-blank range.

Maid­stone Crown Court heard how Matt Cle­ments had climbed on to scaf­fold­ing at Kenneth Batch­e­lor’s Chil­ham home to reach the sec­ond floor.

Mr Batch­e­lor said Mr Cle­ments, a 20stone body­builder who pro­vided door­men for clubs, had told him: “I will get my gun out be­fore you raise the bar­rels.”

Mr Batch­e­lor, a 50-year-old self-em­ployed me­chanic, said he be­lieved him be­cause he had pre­vi­ously seen Mr Cle­ments with firearms in­clud­ing an Uzi 9mm and a hand­gun.

He had de­nied mur­der and man­slaugh­ter

He said Mr Cle­ments had hit the open win­dow and knocked him back. He ex­plained he then snatched at the trig­ger and the gun went off but he had not in­tended to pull it.

He said the gun hadn’t even been pointed at Mr Cle­ments.

He said: “I didn’t know how badly he was in­jured. He looked at me wide-eyed. He ran around the cor­ner. I thought he was still alive.

“I could see spots of blood on the planks.”

Mr Batch­e­lor, who owned the gun legally, said Mr Cle­ments had made nine threat­en­ing tele­phone calls to him be­fore turn­ing up at his home in Can­ter­bury Road, around mid­night on Novem­ber 17.

The calls in­volved Mr Cle­ments, who trained guard dogs, de­mand­ing money he claimed his girl­friend was owed in main­te­nance by his brother David.

Mr Batch­e­lor de­nied a prose­cu­tion sug­ges­tion that he shot Mr Cle­ments de­lib­er­ately while de­fend­ing him­self and his prop­erty. .

Mr Batch­e­lor’s wife Linda told how she lis­tened to the in­ci­dent over the tele­phone.

She said her then fu­ture hus­band had been “dis­traught and de­spair­ing” af­ter he re­ceived sev­eral threat­en­ing phone calls from Mr Cle­ments.

She urged him to call the po­lice, but he replied there would be reper­cus­sions if he did.

She said: “He knew what Matt was like.”

Mrs Batch­e­lor said she was on the phone to her part­ner when he told her: “Oh my God, I think he has just turned up. Yeah, it’s him.”

She said: “I told him not to hang up, so I could hear what was go­ing on. I heard him open a win­dow.

“He shouted: ‘I told you not to call round. I have got noth­ing for you.’

“I could hear Matt Cle­ments in the dis­tance. He sounded ag­gres­sive.”

Mr Batch­e­lor shouted again: “Get off my prop­erty.” Mrs Batch­e­lor said she heard Mr Cle­ments’ voice get­ting louder.

She heard him say: “I told you I was com­ing to get you.”

“My hus­band was very emo­tional,” she said. “He was dis­tressed.”

Mrs Batch­e­lor said she asked a friend to call the po­lice and then heard Mr Batch­e­lor say: “I shot him.”

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