Wife ‘wanted to shoot herself’ not husband

Elaine Freeman, who is on trial for attempted murder, with a picture of her son, Nigel, who was kill

Elaine Freeman, who is on trial for attempted murder, with a picture of her son, Nigel, who was killed serving in Afghanistan. - Credit: Archant

The six-day trial of a Barnston wife, accused of trying to kill her husband, is reaching its closing stages.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the prosecutor and defence barristers were giving their closing speeches to the jury of eight men and four women at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Judge David Turner QC will then have to sum up the evidence before jurors retire to consider their verdicts.

Elaine Freeman, 56, denies the attempted murder of Stephen Freeman, then 45, on January 5 this year at their home in Watts Close, Barnston.

She has also pleaded not guilty to an alternative charge of possessing a 12-bore double barrelled shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence.

Freeman, who used to be a catering manager among other roles at Stansted Airport, is said to have gone up to her husband’s attic bedroom with a shotgun intending to kill him.

It went off, narrowly missing his face, and blew a hole through the ceiling and right through the roof tiles.

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Mr Freeman had filed for divorce before Christmas, which his wife didn’t want. The divorce has since been finalised.

Their 19-year marriage, already said to have been “fracturing” at the time of the incident, had been badly affected by the death in March 2012 of Freeman’s son by an earlier marriage, the court has heard.

Married father-of-two Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, was serving in southern Afghanistan when he and five colleagues were blown up by the Taliban in a high-profile attack.

Freeman told the jury she had been suicidal during her grief. She claims that she still loved her husband and her intention had been to kill herself in front of him.

“I was lonely and empty. I just wanted to die,” she told the court after taking to the witness stand earlier this week.

“I was frightened I would not be able to do it. One per cent of my thoughts thought Stephen would stop me.

“I wanted Stephen to know it was over, there was nothing left. I wanted him to see that there was nothing left, that there would never be me again. I would be no more.”

Trembling, shaking and visibly distressed throughout giving evidence, she said that he had walked down the stairs as she walked up and denied aiming the barrel at him.

“I would not do that, I loved him. Why would I want his mum to be without a son?” she said.

She claimed her husband grabbed the gun, they struggled with it, “and it just went off”.

Freeman added: “I didn’t have my hands on the trigger. I never had my finger on the trigger. Stephen fired that gun when he was trying to take it off me.”

She denied laughing after the shock of the blast and said she thought they didn’t need police involved

The trial continues.