Property developer Michael Chudley pleaded not guilty to murdering Devizes solicitor Jim Ward when he appeared in court today.

Chudley, 62, formerly of Rowde Mill House, Rowde, pleaded not guilty to four charges when he appeared at Winchester Crown Court.

Clean shaven and wearing a blue sweater, he pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Ward; possession of a sawn-off shotgun with intent to commit murder; possession of a firearm to provoke fear of violence to Daphne Courtney; and of threatening to kill Mrs Courtney.

The charges arise from an incident at the offices of MGW Law in St John’s Street, Devizes, on July 2 when Mr Ward, 58, of Bratton, near Westbury, was shot.

He died on July 22 at Frenchay Hospital, near Bristol, without regaining consciousness.

The case was adjourned until December 17 when a case management hearing is due to take place.

Chudley was remanded in custody.