Accused gunman tells jury he was not at burglary

Home where a man was shot in Sible Hedingham ANL-160702-211642009
Home where a man was shot in Sible Hedingham ANL-160702-211642009

The man accused of pulling the trigger during a horror incident in which a high-flying insurance executive was shot at his Sible Hedingham home told a jury today that he simply was not there.

Slightly-built Charlie Simms, 22, of North Road, Great Yeldham, is one of three accused over the shooting. Dressed in a pinstripe suit, shirt and tie in the witness box at Chelmsford Crown Court, denied he had anything to do with the burglary at Timothy Mardon’s £3 million home The Old Rectory.

He claimed he was at The Bell pub in Castle Hedingham with his friend the landlord during that night of 5 February this year when Mr Mardon was blasted in the leg with a shotgun through his locked bedroom door, threatened and left for dead.

On trial are Simms and his co-accused Christopher Bergin, 27, of Hawkwood Road, Sible Hedingham, and Kalebh Shreeve, 23, of Gibson Road, Sible Hedingham.

Scaffolder Simms denies attempted murder and all three deny aggravated burglary, wounding with intent, possessing a firearm while committing an offence and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

They are said to have stolen a Tudor Heritage watch worth 3,000 dollars and a wallet containing UK and foreign currency.

The prosecution allege that Simms was in the house with Bergin while Shreeve kept watch outside.

Giving evidence, Simms said he came across Shreeve in his car while trying to score cannabis after spending the evening of 5 February in The Bell. He told the court they went off together and later made a quick stop at Bergin’s address. He said he knew he dealt in cannabis and cocaine.

The house was in darkness apart from a light on in Bergin’s bedroom. There was no answer to his knock so he opened the unlocked door.

He continued: “Chris burst out from nowhere. He had a shotgun in his hands. He was on the second or fourth step down from the top of the stairs. He discharged the firearm. It hit the floor just in front of me and I felt the dust flick up.

“He didn’t say a thing. I was shouting at him ‘What the hell are you up to?’ He was not himself. I had never seen him with a firearm before. He seemed just as shocked as I was.”

Simms said that Bergin’s nan, Sheila Bergin, then shooed him (Simms) out and he left, leaving Shreeve in his car outside Bergin’s house, he said.

Simms said he walked the mile or so to The Bell, the landlord told him to stay in the caravan out the back for a time and at 4am his friend the landlord escorted him to his own premises where he spent the rest of the night on the couch.

Simms denied he visited Bergin earlier that evening, that he asked him to do “a job” with him, that he talked about The Old Rectory with anyone that night, or that he fired any shotgun.

He told the jury he didn’t mention the incident with Simms and the shotgun to police when interviewed saying: “I didn’t want to get him into trouble”.

He said he believed Bergin shot at him by accident because Bergin thought he was someone else.

The trial continues