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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Neighbour 'killed in pigeon row'
A pigeon fancier killed his neighbour in a drunken rage after blaming her for a fire which engulfed his birds' loft, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Michael Stockton, 44, allegedly shot Susan Rondel in the chest after firing his way into her home.

Nigel Baker QC, prosecuting, said the defendant killed the mother-of-two after shouting anti-Welsh abuse.

Mr Stockton, of Vernon Close, Audley, Staffordshire, denies the murder of the 48-year-old who came from Wrexham.

'Died almost immediately'

Mr Baker told the jury: "Shortly after midnight on Boxing Day last year, the defendant took a shotgun from his gun cabinet.

"He loaded it with three cartridges and he went to the property of Susan Rondel.

"He shot out the security light and he then shot out the lock on her kitchen door, gained entry into the property and shot her at close range in the chest, causing her to die almost immediately, if not immediately."

Mr Baker said there was a background of friction between Mr Stockton and Mrs Rondel, who owned several cats.

'Once and for all'

The court heard a previous fire destroyed a pigeon loft at Mr Stockton's home and he blamed "Mrs Rondel or her agents".

The shooting enthusiast held licences for weapons, including the Italian Beretta shotgun allegedly used in the killing.

The prosecution said Mr Stockton had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, but was described by witnesses as being in a happy mood before he returned home.

But the defendant is alleged to have become agitated soon after and told his partner he was going to "sort out Mrs Rondel once and for all".

The case continues.

Man charged with murder remanded
29 Dec 05 |  Staffordshire

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