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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Wife shows how she shot husband
A wife has showed a jury how she shot her husband dead while she danced to a Shania Twain song during a game.

Linda West, 49, used a wooden replica of a shotgun to demonstrate the "accidental" shooting, which killed Gregory West, 45, on 9 May last year.

Mrs West said the gun went off by mistake as she bowed at the end of a dance to the song Man! I Feel Like A Woman, at their Southampton flat.

The mother-of-three denies murder and an alternative count of manslaughter.

I was hitting him around the face trying to move him, shouting, 'wake up, wake up
Linda West

Giving evidence at Winchester Crown Court, Mrs West said she and her husband of only nine weeks were drunk when he decided she should dance to the track with the shotgun.

Grabbing hold of the wooden replica gun, she explained how she banged it on the floor at the abrupt end of the song so as to "take a bow" and the gun went off.

The blast hit her husband, a marine engineer, in the heart killing him instantly as he sat in a chair.

Mrs West told the court: "I tried to wake him. He would not wake up. I was saying Gregory 'please wake up'. I was hitting him around the face trying to move him, shouting, 'wake up, wake up'."

She told her defence counsel Nigel Pascoe QC that she did not know how the gun had become loaded.

Mrs West, who works as a carer, said the couple were enjoying the evening.

But the prosecution claims that Mrs West had deliberately loaded her husband's double barrelled weapon and blasted him at close range because of a heated row they had had during that evening.

Facial injuries

Several neighbours reported hearing the argument and eventually the loud bang of the weapon firing.

The court heard how Mrs West had called 999 and said: "Oh my God, I've shot him."

Michael Vere-Hodge QC, prosecuting, told the jury: "She was hysterical. She said: 'What have I done? We have only been married nine weeks. It was just a game'."

But Mr Vere-Hodge said that Mr West had facial injuries consistent with him being attacked.

He said Mrs West had taken the gun from the bedroom and shot him, but then immediately regretted it.

The court also heard that when the gun was examined by an expert he found the safety catch did not work and if the gun was dropped it could go off.

The trial continues.


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