Wife’s shotgun blast just missed husband’s head, court hears

Elaine Freeman, who is on trial for attempted murder, with a picture of her son, Nigel, who was kill

Elaine Freeman, who is on trial for attempted murder, with a picture of her son, Nigel, who was killed serving in Afghanistan. - Credit: Archant

The mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan fired a loaded shotgun at her husband, narrowly missing his head, a court has heard.

Elaine Freeman, 56, from Barnston, is on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court for the attempted murder of Stephen Freeman, 46, and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

Mrs Freeman, who previously worked as a manager at Stansted Airport, has denied both charges.

Jurors heard that on January 5 this year Mrs Freeman went to her husband’s bedroom in a converted attic, at their home in Watts Close, Barnston, with a loaded shotgun after she had been drinking that evening.

Prosecutor Anthony Prosser said that Mr Freeman heard footsteps coming to his room around 10.30pm. Mr Prosser told the court: “Mr Freeman got off the bed and went over to the top of the stairs only to see his wife coming up the stairs to the room carrying a shotgun pointing at his chest.”

When Mr Freeman asked his wife what she was doing, she allegedly replied: “This is what you want isn’t it?” Mr Freeman “pushed” the gun away from his direction and at that point a bullet was fired which “flew passed his face missing it but blowing a hole in the ceiling behind his head”, the court heard.

The jury was told Mrs Freeman’s only reaction was to laugh.

Most Read

Mr Freeman then grabbed the gun, called the police on his mobile phone and fled the house. His wife is alleged to have followed him and attempted to grab him.

When police arrived Mrs Freeman, pictured right, was described as being “dismissive” and acting in a “bizarre fashion”. She was also heard saying “everyone is leaving me. My son died in Afghanistan”.

“In the end she had to be shot with a police rubber bullet before they could get her to comply,” Mr Prosser added.

In her first police interview Freeman is said to have been vague but gave more details in her second.

Mr Prosser told the jury: “At that stage she had accepted she had taken a loaded shotgun up to the bedroom but said her intention was to kill herself in front of him, not to harm him.”

Jurors were told that the couple’s 19-year marriage had broken down and Freeman was served divorce papers on December 23 last year.

Mr Freeman told the court that her drinking had contributed to their problems.

The trial continues.