Ex-wife’s fear for her life

THE ex-wife of a Northumberland man shot dead by police spoke for the first time yesterday about how her former husband previously tried to kill her.

Mark Scott

THE ex-wife of a Northumberland man shot dead by police spoke for the first time yesterday about how her former husband previously tried to kill her.

Shirley Scott told an inquest into the death of Mark Scott: “He said I was going to die, and he was going to die, and he was going to shoot me. I was very frightened.”

Scott, 42, of Kimberley Gardens, Stocksfield, was killed in a “stand-off” by a single shot from a police marksman while standing at the window of his home on July 16, 2005, an inquest was told.

He had barricaded himself in the house after injuring his estranged wife in a street attack and firing a home-made shotgun at her, although the shot missed her.

Coroner David Mitford said at the opening of the inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre yesterday, with a jury of 10, that police found a homemade weapon and an explosive device made from a metal tube in Mr Scott’s home in Kimberley Gardens, Stocksfield. Mr Mitford said there was also a noose hanging from a bannister in the house.

Yesterday was also the first time that his ex-wife told her story of the events leading up to the shooting. Mrs Scott said: “I was with my daughter Emma and my granddaughter on the way from the garden centre about 6pm. As we walked past the house in Kimberley Gardens, he peered through the window in the house and came out.

“He was dressed in a combat jacket, which was camouflaged, it was quite long and fastened up. He said ‘come back into the house’. We didn’t want to go back into the house.

“He opened his jacket and I saw a long barrel of a gun. He said I was going to die, and he was going to die, and he was going to shoot me. I was very frightened.”

When Mr Mitford asked if ‘she thought she would come out of the house alive?’ Mrs Scott shook her head.

She said Scott agreed to let her daughter and granddaughter go as they walked to his house, when Scott told her: “Cross the road, you’re going to die anyway,” and started attacking her. She said: “He hit me across the head more than a dozen times and I ended up on the ground.”

Daughter Emma Scott, 22, who at the time was 19, had her 20-month-old baby in a buggy with her. She said when she saw her father outside the house, he said: “You better get across the road or I’ll blast you all.”

Ex-wife Mrs Scott said she remembered a man helping her, and the ambulance and police arriving. Her injuries included a fractured skull and a broken right arm.

Basil Lowes, from Corbridge, told the jury how he went to Mrs Scott’s aid after passing in a car with his wife.

He said: “I heard police sirens and I saw a lady on the ground and a gun fired at her.

“I was behind the police car and I could see a lady on her feet and then on the ground and a man was hitting her with what I thought was a nail gun with a barrel. He was hitting her with it everywhere and I saw him fire it. He was standing over the top of her and I saw the hole in the tarmac. I punched him away.”

He said Scott still had “what looked like a nail gun”. He said then Scott ran up the drive into the house. Mr Lowes said: “He was laughing”.

Mr Lowes added: “She was very lucky, it could have hit her, it was very close”.

The inquest continues today.

------------------------------------------------------------------

‘I felt sick about what I had welded and I had helped make a home-made firearm’

IT was early evening on July 16, 2005, when mechanic Mark Scott was shot by a single police bullet as he stood at an upstairs window after barricading himself in his house.

Scott had separated from Shirley Scott in 2003, and she and their children moved to Tulip Street, in Prudhoe.

An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the officer who shot Scott would not be prosecuted.

Statements made to the police after the shooting by Scott’s sister Heather Philipson, 44, of Steel, near Hexham, were read to the inquest yesterday.

She said she had never known her brother to be violent and went on to describe how his ex-wife had complained to the police on several occasions about him since their split. She said her brother was dyslexic and had difficulties reading and writing.

Mrs Scott described how her husband had continually “harassed her”. He regularly produced bullet cartridges “which he told me had my name on it”.

She told the jury he “drank every night” and was violent towards her when he drank.

She said that he had slashed her tyres five or six times and he had burnt out her Renault Clio car. Scott even went to prison after breaking an injunction made against him for harassing his ex-wife, the inquest heard.

In July 2005, just weeks before the shooting, Mrs Scott described how he put five bullets through her letterbox. Statements were read from Scott’s nephew, Scott Philipson, Heather Philipson’s son, who said his uncle had shotguns but handed them back when his gun licence was revoked. He had not seen any bullets or shotguns after that.

Other statements included one from Michael Tolchard, who had known Scott for 20 years, describing him as “a bit of a loner”. He said: “I’m sure he was violent to his wife Shirley and I would often see her with marks to her neck”.

A statement was also heard from Steven Maughan, a mechanic who worked with Scott.

He described how Scott had asked him to weld a bar to a flat piece of metal. He said that on July 27, when the police came to speak to him, “I felt sick about what I had welded and I had helped make a home-made firearm”.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer