Bratton community in shock as solicitor fights for life after shooting

This Is Wiltshire: James Ward remains in a critical condition in hospital James Ward remains in a critical condition in hospital

The village of Bratton, near Westbury, was in shock this week following the shooting of local resident and solicitor Jim Ward at his practice in Devizes on Monday.

Shortly before 3pm a man entered the offices of Morris, Goddard and Ward brandishing a sawn-off shotgun. The gun was fired once, causing Mr Ward life-threatening head injuries.

The 58-year-old was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol and was still fighting for his life on Thursday, with his family by his side.

Mr Ward, whose partner Nicola Morris is a partner in the firm, has three grown-up children, and the couple are described as popular figures in Bratton.

Richard Butt, 46, the owner of Hillworth Stores, said: “They are really well liked around the village. I have never met anyone who has had a bad word to say about them. It’s a terrible thing that has happened . They are a nice couple . They bought a house to do up and they’ve been here for nearly 20 years.

“One of their children, Alex, worked in the shop here.”

Prayers have also been said in the village and Pauline Hubbart, secretary of Bratton Baptist Church, added: “We are saying prayers for him at the church, but I don’t really want to talk about it.”

Many neighbours on Lower Road were too shocked to talk about the shooting, but one, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Jim had been renovating his house and his car recently.

“It is really shocking. We are very upset and sad about what has happened.”

Another neighbour said: “Everyone here is sad about what has happened to Jim and we hope he makes a complete recovery. Our best wishes go to his family.”

Michael Chudley, 62, from Rowde, appeared at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Wednesday charged with attempted murder, threats to kill, possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and carrying a firearm with criminal intent.

He was remanded in custody to appear at Winchester Crown Court on July 18.

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