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Murder by the Loch – the trial

Murder by the Loch - the trial
The Prosecution case was essentially what we saw as the case unfolded. Mr Ward committed the pre-meditated and callous murder of his wife to clear the way to a future relationship with Mrs Anderson. He first of all lured her into a false sense of security by taking her out for lunch on their anniversary, then he drove to the nearest quiet spot - the side of the loch, shot her fatally in the head, and set about to made it look like a robbery. There was no gunman - it was all the work of Mr Ward. The most telling evidence is the nature of the fatal wound.
It was to her right temple and could only have been caused by a shot from inside the car, from the driver’s side. Mr Ward realised this was a problem and changed his version of events in an attempt to cover-up, but the fact remains that no version of his story can explain this away. Add the evidence that his injury was to his left arm, and happened when he was seated in the driver’s seat and it just doesn’t add up. The only explanation that fits is that the supposed gunman was Mr Ward himself.
The tyre tracks and the footwear mark - what you and I ladies and gentlemen of the jury would call a footprint - that were present in the ground by the jetty are entirely consistent not only with Mr Ward’s car being there, but with him being outside the car - why?
To dispose of Mrs Ward’s belongings and the gun! Things began to go wrong after he shot himself, because the effects of the internal bleeding made it impossible to complete the staging of the robbery. Instead, he had to abandon the car at the roadside and seek assistance. And all this because he wanted to pursue his illicit relationship with Mrs Anderson, without confessing to the affair and going through what would have been a damaging divorce.
In summary: Mr Ward is a murderer and a liar. He lied about the gunman He lied about being shot from outside the car He lied about not being at the jetty He lied about his affair And he cold-bloodedly murdered his wife on their wedding anniversary. The Defence case consisted of sworn testimony from 3
witnesses: Mr Grant Collins, who testified to having been at the Jetty that morning, in his Mazda CX-5, Miss Hannah Ainsley who worked for the company that sold Mr Ward’s shoes and stated that 643 pairs had been sold in the West of Scotland in the second
quarter of that year, and then there was Mr Ward’s testimony: Yes, I lied about what happened and I’m sorry for the trouble I have caused the police, my wife Anne and her family, and Debbie and her family. I had originally planned to confess about the affair after our lunch, but we seemed to be so happy and at ease, I decided not to. After our coffee, Anne suggested we drive to the loch-side and enjoy the magnificent scenery, and I was more than happy to agree. But everything changed when we got there. Anne flew into a rage, and called me a two-faced liar.
She said she had known about the affair for several months and try as she could, just could not deal with it. She screamed that if she couldn’t have me to herself then no-one could and pulled a pistol out of her handbag and pointed it at me. I leaned over and tried to pull it away from her. I don’t know anything about guns but she must have been pretty serious about shooting me because it went off - and you know what happened. I was in a state of shock and panic. Nobody was going to believe it was an accident. That was when I decided to make it look like a robbery.
I took her handbag, purse and jewels and ran down to the jetty. It was fenced off but I was able to get round the gate and go right to the end and throw them into the loch. I went back to the car, picked up the gun and shot myself in the arm before going back to the jetty to get rid of it too. But my injured arm stopped me from getting beyond the gate so I threw it as far as I could from the water’s edge. I went back to the car and sat Anne upright in her seat and drove off.
The idea was to get as far away from Ross Priory as possible and then call the police from a quiet spot to report the hold-up. But I became dizzy and disorientated and had to pull in to the side of the road. I know Alan - yes, I have bought drugs from him which is why I did not say anything - I knew he was probably nearby so I called him from my mobile and told him what had happened. He told me he was near to Ross Priory and to stay in the car and wait, but I couldn’t bear it there beside her dead body and got out. The first car that came along was Alan’s and I was so relieved.
The first thing he did was take my phone from me, saying he did not want the police to know I had called him and if anyone asked say I did not have the phone with me. He told me not to say anything about calling him or knowing him, and then he called for police and ambulance using his phone. I have not told the truth about this because I was afraid no-one would believe me. I loved my wife and did not want it to get out that I had cheated on her, or that finding out about it had led to her death. I just hoped if I kept quiet it would all go away.
It was terrible living with this and I’m glad I can finally get it off my chest.
The defence completed their closing argument thus: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you have now heard from Mr Collins, Ms Ainsley and Mr Ward in relation to this case. As you will appreciate, the Crown must prove to you beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Ward murdered his wife. They have to put before you a case that consists of evidence and that evidence must form a chain such that you can reach a conclusion in relation to this crime. Let’s now look at the pieces of evidence in that chain.
You now know that it is entirely likely that the tyre tracks that were made at the scene were made by Mr Collins’ car when he drove to the jetty earlier in the day to check on his boat. The Crown witnesses also agreed that there was nothing distinct about the footwear mark that was recovered at the scene - it showed only class characteristics of a relatively common shoe sold in the west of Scotland. Let us now look at what happened in the car. A tragic set of events however you want to look at it. But it is just not that simple, ladies and gentlemen to say that my client murdered his wife.
What possible reason would he have to end his marriage in this way? On the other hand of course we remember the old saying that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and that Mrs Ward may have felt like that. There is far more reason for her to be at least trying to scare her husband by threatening him with a pistol than there is for him to brutally murder her. The tragic circumstances that then unfolded have been placed before you by my client’s testimony.
It is certainly true that there is absolutely nothing in the examination of the car that is not entirely consistent with Mr Ward’s testimony - and that is true whether or not you are convinced by the expert evidence regarding the somewhat speculative blood pattern analysis. And finally ladies and gentlemen we have the gun - but whose gun is it? The Crown in their evidence have simply not established that fact. It is the Crown’s responsibility, ladies and gentlemen, to present to you a chain of evidence that shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Ward is guilty of this brutal crime.
We will put it to you that the links in this chain of evidence presented to you by the Crown are equally as supportive of the case for the Defence. That the forensic science evidence that is presented to you supports Mr Ward’s version of events just as well.
Think about these alternative explanations of events - how do they fit with the evidence? Remember that in Scotland, as with most jurisdictions, there is a presumption of innocence, and it is the job of the prosecution to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. You are the jury - what is your verdict?

After reviewing the evidence, the police charged Mr Ward with the murder of Mrs Ward.

The video now summarises the cases for the Prosecution and for the Defence in the trial of Mr Ward.

The Prosecution case is that the physical location of the bullet wounds to Mr and Mrs Ward rules out the robber/gunman theory – a theory that stretches credibility at the best of times. The Prosecution argue that the evidence repeatedly shows Mr Ward to be lying, and that he has a strong motive to dispense with his wife, and the only realistic conclusion is that he shot her and invented the robbery scenario.

The Defence case is that there is nothing of substance to support the Prosecution case. The tyre tracks could have been made by another car and a witness has come forth to suggest this, there is also nothing distinctive in the footwear impression. Even if you accept these as evidence of Mr Ward being by the jetty, they are entirely consistent with the events described by Mr Ward in. his testimony. There is also nothing that indicates that Mr Ward intentionally fired the gun in order to murder his wife.

You should now use the tables as before to assess the Defence case in light of the evidence that has been presented.

It’s now your turn to decide, based on your evaluation of the evidence in light of the circumstances presented to you. In the next step you will have the opportunity to vote and find Mr Ward “Guilty” or “Not Guilty”.

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