Dog row neighbour guilty of attempted murder

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A man who shot his two neighbours after a row over their pet dog was found guilty of two counts of attempted murder today, police said.

Kevin Barrett, 57, opened fire at David and Susan Venn with a shotgun when the retired couple returned home last June.

He shot Mr Venn first before turning the gun on Mrs Venn as she tried to flee and fetch help. Both were left with chest and hand injuries.

The row started over the Venns' "rottweiler-type" dog, which Barrett said had made his wife Janice ill with fear, Norwich Crown Court heard.

During the one-week trial, jurors were told how Barrett confronted the couple - in their 60s - and attacked their car with a spade before firing shots.

Firearms expert Abigail Hannam told the court the shots could have caused "lethal" injuries.

Mr Venn had blocked pellets with his hand after climbing from the car to face Barrett, the jury heard.

Mr and Mrs Venn were treated by paramedics at the scene but had to be taken to hospital due to the severe injuries they had received.

Barrett, of High Street in Nordelph, Norfolk, was arrested by firearms officers and the shotgun was recovered.

He was also found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to cause serious harm.

In court, Barrett said he had begged his neighbours not to have the mastiff-rottweiler because his wife was "petrified".

The Venns' decision to keep the dog - which came from an animal rescue centre and had been "treated cruelly" - "destroyed" the couple's close relationship "overnight", jurors were told.

Detective Sergeant Jason Davis, who led the investigation, said it was "down to luck" that Mr and Mrs Venn survived the attack.

He said: "This case involved a neighbourhood dispute that got completely out of hand.

"It culminated in Barrett waiting in Mr and Mrs Venn's driveway with a loaded shotgun he had taken to the scene, and then attempting to shoot David Venn in the face at almost point blank range.

"It is extremely fortunate that Mr Venn was able to successfully take evasive action, else the injuries he suffered could have been far worse.

"It is down to luck that both Mr and Mrs Venn survived this attack. Irrespective of his views about the dispute he may have had with his neighbours, there can be no justification whatsoever for Barrett resorting to the level of violence he did in this case."

Barrett will be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court tomorrow afternoon.