999 call reveals shot wife's last moments

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The terrifying last moments of a woman hiding in a cupboard and pleading for help as her shotgun-wielding husband tracked her down were played out at an inquest yesterday.

The terrifying last moments of a woman hiding in a cupboard and pleading for help as her shotgun-wielding husband tracked her down were played out at an inquest yesterday.

In a 16-minute 999 call, Julia Pemberton described how her husband, Alan, shot her son and then went looking for her in their family home. On finding her, he called her a "fucking whore". A scream followed, then the line went dead. Mrs Pemberton's final words were: "He's coming now."

Moments before the killing, Mr Pemberton had shot dead the couple's 17-year-old son William. After murdering his 47-year-old wife and son at their home in Hermitage, Berkshire last November, he killed himself with the shotgun.

A note was found later in which Mr Pemberton, 48, said he had become "obsessed" with revenge on his wife for trying to divorce him and accusing him of raping her.

Peter Bedford, the Berkshire coroner, read a transcript in which Mrs Pemberton told the operator: "My husband's outside with a gun. He's let off some shots." She said that he was breaking down the door: "He's coming in. Oh my God, oh my God, please help me - I'm going to die."

The operator told her that the police were on their way but by this time her husband was close to finding her. "Here he comes, oh here he comes, oh my God, he's come," she said. Members of the family wept as the transcript was read.

The inquest at Reading civic centre had heard that Mr Pemberton, a financial adviser, had subjected his wife to years of abuse and threatened to kill her. Mrs Pemberton and her brother were so afraid of Mr Pemberton that they handed his guns and kitchen knives to police for safe-keeping. She had taken out an injunction against him but refused to move into a safe house and initially turned down an offer of a panic alarm.

Mr Pemberton had played a round of golf on the day of the murders. He was described as being in a "happy and jokey" mood when he left the golf club at about 6.30pm.

Stephen Leadley, who lived next door to the Pembertons, told the inquest he had locked his family in his house after hearing shots at about 7.15pm.

The police were sent to the Pembertons' home at about 7.35pm, but officers had difficulty finding it because it had been built recently and did not appear on the police computer. When they arrived they saw the body of the teenager in the driveway.

An extract from Mr Pemberton's farewell letter read to the court said: "No one quite knows the grief and shock I have suffered as a result of the action of my darling wife, my need for revenge is overpowering."

The inquest is expected to finish today.


Julia Pemberton: I'm on Slanting Hill, Hermitage. I've got an injunction. My husband's out there with a gun and my son's there. He's got a gun and let off some shots. (Pause)

JP: My husband's outside with a gun. He's let off some shots. My son's out there with him. I've got an injunction against him. He's not supposed to come within 50 metres of the house. (Sounds of shot)

JP: Oh my God.

Operator: What is your address?

JP: Old Hallowes, Slanting Hill, Hermitage. (Bang followed by a cry in the background)

JP: Oh Jesus Christ, he's hurt my son. Oh my God, he's come through the window... (Silence)

JP: Please come quickly. (Loud bang and scream)

Operator: I have got officers on the way.

JP: He's breaking down the door. (Silence)

JP: Please come quickly, he's let off shots and fired through the window. (Silence)

JP: He's coming in. Oh my God, oh my God, please help me - I'm going to die.

Operator: Where has he fired the gun?

JP: He has fired it through the window in the hall - both windows ... please come quickly. I can hear him shouting and screaming. My son is with him. Oh my God, help me. (Pause).

JP: I think he's in the house. I can hear him, please help me. (Pause)

Operator: Where is he now?

JP: I don't know - I'm hiding in a cupboard.

Operator: Can you hear your son at all?

JP: No, it's all quiet ... he's still shooting - he's got a shotgun. (Pause)

JP: Oh my God ... he's killed my son. Oh my God.

Operator: How many shots have you heard?

JP: About a dozen. I heard another bang, he's letting off guns. He's banging down the front door - please help me. My son could be dead.

Operator: We have got people coming up.

JP: He's coming through the door. Oh God, I've got about one minute before I die - please.

Operator: Just stay where you are - keep hidden. (Two loud bangs are heard)

JP: He's coming in the other end. I can hear him bashing the glass. He's coming in now - oh my God, please help me. (Pause)

JP: Yes, he's coming. I can hear him - he's come through ... oh my God, help me.

Operator: Are you upstairs?

JP: No, I'm hiding in the store room. He'll catch me, he's coming. Here he comes. Here he comes, here he comes - oh my God, he has come."

Operator: The police are coming. Are you downstairs?

JP: Yes.

Operator: A hall cupboard?

JP: A store room. (She says that she is unable to lock the door from the inside)

Operator: Have you heard your son at all?

JP: No. (Pause)

JP: He's coming now. (There is a sound of a door opening)

Male voice: You fucking whore. (JP cries out. Line goes dead)