… Barrett took the view that dogs like rottweilers should be 'put down at birth'.Yet, this isn’t a story about a dangerous dog for once…
Kevin Barrett, 57, confronted David and Susan Venn - who are both in their early 60s - with a shotgun when they arrived home.I’m tempted to say ‘Normal….for Norfolk!’ but this is a bit extreme even for the land of the webbed finger people.
He smashed their car windscreen with a spade before shooting Mr Venn in the hand and Mrs Venn in the back in Nordelph, Norfolk, jurors heard.
So what had the dog done? Savaged a family pet or family member? Barked constantly? Fouled his lawn continually?
No, it seems it was its existence alone that caused the problem:
The defendant – who denies attempted murder – had begged his neigbours not to get a mastiff/rottweiler cross because his wife Janice was 'petrified', Norwich Crown Court was told.If your ‘close relationship’ can be destroyed by something so trivial then I question whether it was ever as real as you thought…
The Venns' decision to keep the dog - which came from an animal rescue centre and had been 'treated cruelly' - 'destroyed' the couples' close relationship 'overnight', jurors were told.
Barrett got 'very angry', tried to feed the dog a poisoned sausage, smashed a piece of garden furniture, told the Venns the problem was putting a strain on his marriage and said he would 'do for them', jurors heard.He clearly wasn’t kidding. Was he a licensed shotgun holder, or was this an illegal weapon?
Of course, the defence is doing its best to make the client’s actions seem almost reasonable, in the face of this inexplicable and horrifying decision by the neighbours that they should peacefully enjoy their own home and property without first checking that it wouldn’t upset the psycho next door:
William Carter, defending, said Mrs Barrett was 'literally petrified' of the dog and became 'ill'.Because it was their right to keep a pet (as long as it was kept under control) if they wished, perhaps?
'She changed completely,' Mr Carter told the court. 'Janice spent time either avoiding the house or sitting inside in tears.'
Mr Carter asked Mrs Venn why they had to keep the dog.
She said they were afraid it would not find a home and added: 'We had given the dog a home and couldn't ask her to go off again.'Extraordinary, isn’t it, that they should prefer the companionship of a formerly ill-treated animal to the companionship of a volatile and unstable nut with a gun and his neurotic wife…
Her husband told the court: 'We had... become attached to the dog.'
Mr Carter asked Mrs Venn: 'The dog trumped your friendship with Mr and Mrs Barrett?' She replied: 'Yes.'