Farmer, 83, cleared of shooting suspected thief on his property

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An 83-year-old farmer who was found not guilty after being taken to court for shooting a suspected thief on his property has said he should not have been charged.

A jury at Hull Crown Court took just 24 minutes to clear Kenneth Hugill of inflicting grievous bodily harm by shooting the man in the foot.

Mr Hugill and his family welcomed the verdict but criticised the decision to prosecute and the response from the police at the time of the incident.

The three-day trial heard that Mr Hugill went outside after he saw a vehicle on his farm on Mill Lane, Wilberfoss, East Yorkshire, in the early hours of November 13 2015.

He told the jury he was "petrified" when he heard the vehicle's engine revving and thought it was being driven towards him.

The court heard he used a shotgun, given to him by his parents for his 21st birthday, to shoot down the side of the vehicle to stop it driving at him and frighten the occupants away.

He said he did not intend to injure anyone and was not aware anyone had been hit.

Mr Hugill, who uses a walking stick and a hearing aid and did not sit in the dock during the trial, thanked the jury of five men and seven women as they left the court room after acquitting him.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Hugill said: "I'm very, very pleased. It's marvellous.

"We thought I shouldn't have been prosecuted right from the start, I didn't feel it was justified at the time.

"I pulled the trigger because I thought that car was going to kill me."