RAF officer 'in wicked murder'

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The Independent Online
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AN RAF officer killed his wife as she did a crossword puzzle _ then claimed his gun went off accidently while he was cleaning it, a court was told yesterday.

Brian Ferrill, a businessman, was sitting 12 feet from his wife Maureen, 62, at their home when the gun went off. She was killed instantly by the single bullet wound to the head from his Smith and Wesson magnum revolver.

Mr Ferrill, also 62, allegedly telephoned for an ambulance and said: 'Oh my God] I've been cleaning my guns and one has gone off and shot my wife.'

Her death on a quiet Sunday afternoon came just hours after Mr Ferrill, commanding officer of the RAF Auxiliary at the St Athan base in South Wales, had attended a Remembrance Day parade.

Roger Thomas QC, for the prosecution, told Cardiff Crown Court: 'For a person experienced in firearms to have a loaded revolver at home with another person in the room was an act of extreme recklessness and folly. But in the circumstances, his actions went beyond that. It involved deliberate wickedness and intention to kill.'

Mr Ferrill, who runs a chain of restaurants, denies murdering his wife at their home in the village of St Athan, near Barry, South Glamorgan. The former Flight Lieutenant and drill instructor, told police the gun went off while he was reloading it. He reportedly told detectives: 'It wasn't murder. We've been married for 35 years.'

Explaining how the gun went off, Mr Ferrill told police: 'It was jammed solid. I gave it a knock and it went off.' He also said he had hit the barrel from underneath with his knuckle, saying: 'It went off and I had a nasty shock. I turned around and saw my wife.'

Mr Ferrill was released after his first police interview but was re-arrested and charged with murder a month later, the court was told.

The trial continues today.