Page last updated at 20:01 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Murder accused 'protecting home'

A Kent man accused of murder shot and killed a bodybuilder as he tried to break into his home, jurors have heard.

Car mechanic Kenneth Batchelor, 51, of Canterbury Road, Chilham, denies the charge at Maidstone Crown Court.

Jurors were told he discharged one shot from a 12-bore shotgun at "very close quarters" as Matthew Clements tried to pull open an upstairs window.

They heard claims that Mr Batchelor fired the shot as he tried to defend himself and his home in November 2007.

Prosecutor Cairns Nelson told the jury they had to decide "where the line should be drawn" between reasonable and unreasonable force.

He said: "Kenneth Batchelor shot Matthew Clements as he attempted to break into the defendant's home, no doubt to inflict violence or at least threaten violence.

"The two men knew each other, this was not a stranger burglary."

He told police he was frightened so turned out the lights and locked the door
Prosecutor Cairns Nelson

The court heard that on 17 November last year Mr Clements, 42, of Frittenden Close, Ashford, made a series of threatening phone calls to Mr Batchelor after drinking heavily and smoking cannabis.

Mr Batchelor decided to arm himself with a shotgun he owned legally at his home and to "resolve the matter himself" and not call the police, the prosecution claimed.

Mr Nelson said: "No doubt he hoped the problem would not emerge.

"In interview he told police he was frightened so turned out the lights and locked the door. He said he thought telephoning the police might make the problem worse."

The court was told Mr Clements climbed up scaffolding around Mr Batchelor's cottage in the early hours of 18 November and was fired at through an open window.

Mr Clements, 42, of Frittenden Close, Ashford, ran a business providing nightclub security staff and trained guard dogs.

The case continues.

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