A fundraising pact has been launched to help a Yorkshire farmer pay his legal fees after he was cleared of grievous bodily harm for shooting a convicted burglar in the foot.
83-year-old Kenneth Hugill was said to have ‘wept with relief’ after the jury took only 24 minutes to clear him of the charges.
The judge said he had a right to defend his property when an intruder, convicted criminal Richard Stables, drove onto his land in the early hours of the morning.
Celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman echoed the claims saying the outcome of the trial was ‘not justice’ and set up an online fund to help Mr Hugill raise the £30,000.
One donator said he had the ‘support of all the rural community’.
Mr Freeman said: “Despite his age and never being on the wrong side of the law, it was Mr Hugill who was hauled before the courts.
“I am sure there are plenty of people who felt as equally incensed as I did after reading about the case, and will be happy to spare a few pounds in helping this hard-working family in their hour of financial need.”
Mr Hugill was called to Hull Crown Court after a 16-month wrangle following the incident on November 13, 2015 on his farm in Wilberfoss, near York.
He said he thought the pair - Mr Stables and a driver - were ‘up to no good’ and fired the shotgun, once in the air and once towards the 4x4, to ‘frighten them off’.
Mr Stables, who is on the rural crime watch list, said he had ‘stumbled onto the farm accidentally’ before suggestions he had been ‘hunting rabbits’.
Mr Hugill added: “I did not feel it was justified. I pulled the trigger because I thought the car was going to kill me.
“I am very, very pleased, it is marvellous. I thought I should not have been prosecuted right from the start.”