Armed officers praised for arrest of gun suspect

This Is Wiltshire: Deputy Chief Constable Mike Veale with PC Ian Lewis and PC Phil Kibble Deputy Chief Constable Mike Veale with PC Ian Lewis and PC Phil Kibble

Two police firearms officers have been commended for their arrest of a suspected gunman.

PC Phil Kibble and PC Ian Lewis had their safety catches off and were ready to fire when the man gave himself up after being cornered at a house in Rowde.

Deputy Chief Constable Mike Veale praised their coolness and professionalism when presenting them with certificates at police headquarters in Devizes on Tuesday evening.

The officers were part of the armed response unit called to MGW Law’s offices in St John’s Street, Devizes, on July 7 this year.

Bratton solicitor Jim Ward had been shot at close range with a sawn-off shotgun. He died of his injuries three weeks later, without regaining consciousness.

Officers were concerned for the safety of two people at a house in Rowde and PCs Kibble and Lewis, who had worked together on the squad for 11 years, were dispatched to the scene.

According to the citation, they were aware the suspect was in the front garden, but were prevented from entering by a locked gate. They managed to get in over a wooden fence.

PC Lewis said: “We needed to close him down and keep control of the situation, not let him dictate. We saw him at the front of the house and challenged him.

“Our safety catches were off and our red dot sites were locked on him. He realised his predicament and we saw him move in the shadows.”

PC Kibble said: “We were very close to shooting him. It is the closest I have ever come to shooting someone.”

A 62-year-old property developer, Michael Chudley, has been charged with murder, possession of a sawn-off shotgun and threats to kill in relation to Jim Ward. He has denied all the charges and a trial is likely to take place at Winchester Crown Court in June next year.

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