Jury visits scene of trainer's death

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The Independent Online
The groom charged with murdering the millionaire racehorse trainer Alex Scott returned to the scene of the shooting yesterday.

William O'Brien, 58, had elected to be present when the jury was shown the spot in a stud farm barn where the alleged confrontation between the two men happened.

The five women and seven men arrived by coach for what they had been told was effectively the second day of the trial of Mr O'Brien, who is charged with murdering Mr Scott, a 34-year-old father of three, on 30 September last year.

The judge, Mr Justice Blofeld, counsel for the prosecution, James Hunt QC, and defence counsel, Christopher Leigh QC, had arrived separately at the Glebe Stud, Cheveley, near Newmarket, Suffolk.

When the trial opened at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr O'Brien denied the murder. Mr Hunt told the jury the defence would argue that he was not guilty on the grounds of provocation.

Mr O'Brien also pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill a gardener at the stud, Christopher Forster.

The court has been told that Mr Scott - who trained horses owned by the ruling Maktoum family of Dubai, including this year's Derby winner Lammtarra - had gone to see Mr O'Brien to arrange his departure after a row. During the argument a few days earlier, Mr O'Brien told his employer to "stuff his job". Mr Scott then wrote to Mr O'Brien, requesting that he confirm his resignation in writing. Having received no reply, he went to see him, and in the ensuing argument suffered fatal shotgun wounds.

Yesterday, the jury was given a tour of the steel and breeze-block barn, used for the stabling of seven mares, where the shooting is said to have happened.

They also saw the large walk-in cupboard, used for veterinary equipment storage, where Mr O'Brien allegedly put the single-barrelled 12-bore shotgun that he used to kill Mr Scott.

The trial continues on Monday when the first witness is expected to be called. It is due to last all next week.