Killer cop was planning more murders

POLICE Inspector Gary Weddell who was on bail for the murder of his wife when he killed his mother-in-law intended to shoot other members of her family, their inquest was told yesterday. Detectives believe Weddell, who had just shot widow Traute Maxfield,

POLICE Inspector Gary Weddell who was on bail for the murder of his wife when he killed his mother-in-law intended to shoot other members of her family, their inquest was told yesterday.

Detectives believe Weddell, who had just shot widow Traute Maxfield, was on his way to murder his brothers-in-law when he was spooked by an overhead police helicopter.

The 47-year-old was drinking a lager shandy and eating a packet of crisps when the helicopter flew overhead, trying to track a stolen car.

Barmaid Jane Thornton, from the Old Sun pub near Markyate, Herts, pointed at the other drinkers and joked: "Look - it looks like there are coming for one of them in there." Weddell did not reply.

The inquest in Dunstable heard that, on seeing the helicopter, Weddell is thought to have given up on the idea of killing other members of his wife Sandra's family.

He discarded 21 shotgun cartridges in a nearby bin and drove to a shooting club where he had been taking secret clay-pigeon shooting lessons and killed himself with a Baikal shotgun he had stolen from there.

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DCI Sean O'Neill told the hearing: "We believe he intended to finish the day by taking his own life. He killed Traute Maxfield. The route he was taking was towards the Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard area, where other members of her family lived. It is our belief he was intending to kill other members of the family.

"It seems the helicopter overhead made him believe we were aware of his presence and he then decided to take his own life."

Officers found 21 live Rottweil cartridges discarded in a bin near the pub. Eight other cartridges were found by the body of Weddell at the Broomhills Shooting club in Markyate.

The inquest heard that Weddell was a "controlling man" who was unhappy that Sandra, a 44-year-old nursing sister who was having an affair, wanted a divorce. He was angry with her family after his arrest for her murder after they had obtained orders placing his three children in the care of one of her brothers.

Weddell had controversially been let out on bail when he killed 70-year-old Traute and then shot himself.

He had faked Sandra's suicide on 31 January 2007, telling his colleagues that she was having an affair and was suffering from mental health problems. Sandra had been found hanging in the garage of the couple's £300,000 home in Lancot Avenue, Dunstable.

She had told him she wanted a divorce and she would be entitled to part of his lucrative police inspector's pension, as he had spent 25 years in the job. The mortgage on their home was also about to be paid off.

Detectives did not believe Weddell's story that Sandra killed herself. They charged him with murder after discovering injuries to her body caused in a struggle.

They also established that a suicide email she had supposedly written was in fact composed by the policeman wearing rubber gloves. It had been printed off on the family computer at a time when Sandra was not home but when she was acting as an exam invigilator at Queensbury School in Dunstable. An expert who examined it concluded that it was not written by Sandra herself.

DCI O'Neill said that Garry Weddell was arrested on the 26 June last year for the murder of Sandra. He gave a "No comment" interview. The next day he was questioned again and denied any involvement in the death of his wife.

He was brought to Luton Magistrates Court and it was discovered that he had strapped a cable around his leg taken from a television in the interview room at Ampthill Police Station. Weddell had said "I just want to go to sleep."

He appeared before Luton Crown Court on the July 3 and 13 when Judge John Bevan QC refused bail. But on the July 27 the same judge, at Ipswich Crown Court, granted Weddell bail after a defence psychiatrist reported that he did not pose a suicide risk. Crucially, rules meant the prosecution could not summon their own psychiatrist.

His barrister brother Geoffrey put up a £200,000 bond. The decision was made in spite of strong objections from the Crown Prosecution Service.

DCI O'Neill said: "We believed Weddell posed a risk to himself and to members of Sandra's family."

The inquest was told that on November 2 last year, Weddell was arrested for two breaches of his bail conditions.

On October 29 he had visited the Pack Horse Pub in Kensworth, just inside the Bedfordshire border. He had been ordered not to enter the county unless it was for legally approved reasons.

He had also spoken to his brother-in-law Paul Carne, 48, on 27 October, again a breach of the conditions.

Despite this, magistrates in Woking, Surrey, where he was staying with his brother allowed his bail to continue.

Then at 11.45am on Saturday, January 12, Weddell's body was found at Broomhills Shooting Club. He had suffered shotgun head injuries and a gun was found beside his body.

At 5.20pm on the afternoon of Saturday 12, officers went to Traute's home in nearby Wheathampstead. Her body was found in a room off the hallway. She had suffered a shotgun wound to the upper left leg and to the neck.

DCI O'Neill said that Weddell had had a pint of beer in the nearby Crosskeys Pub on the Friday lunchtime. He was seen to leave the pub carrying a holdall and walking towards Traute's home.

In February, a high court judge ruled that Geoffrey Weddell should not lose his bail bond.

The inquest heard Sandra Weddell was a loving and dedicated mother to her three children, but had become unhappy in her marriage.

Gary Weddell was described in court as "controlling" and who dealt with all financial matters and who expected his wife to cook and clean.

In 2006 she had begun an affair with a married man after meeting him while away on a school trip. He was not named at the inquest. He was ruled out as a suspect because at the time of the killing he was working at a Tesco store in Welwyn Garden City.

DCI O'Neill said the man said Sandra talked about leaving Gary. She said: "I just want out. He just controls me. I just don't love him anymore."

A statement from a close friend of the wife was read out in court which said "Sandra said she had met another man who understood her and made her feel like a real woman."

Coroner David Morris was told that in late 2006 Sandra finally told her husband she wanted to leave him. She told a number of close friends as well, saying she wanted to move into a flat near to the family home.

Her plan was not to disrupt her children's home life and they would remain with Weddell while she lived in a flat nearby, so that she had daily access to them and could collect them from school.

One friend of Sandra told police later that at first Weddell had been "dismissive" about Sandra's intentions and had not taken her seriously.

"She had told Garry of her intentions and he had told her she was going through the change," said the friend.

However, following Christmas 2006, the court heard Weddell realised his marriage was facing imminent collapse.

Another friend of Sandra's told police how, shortly before her death, she had told her "He keeps breaking down and crying in front of the children. The children keep asking 'What's wrong with Daddy?'"

In January of last year, Sandra believed her affair with her unnamed lover may have finished but nevertheless was still determined to leave her husband.

On January 30 she appeared her normal self, kissing one of her children goodbye that morning as she left for school.

Staff remember her that morning showing no signs of any anxiety or stress and planning her work schedule for the rest of the week.

That afternoon, she was due to attend another junior school close to her home to help the youngsters with a reading session. She never arrived.

In a statement after Sandra was killed, Traute Maxfield had said: "Gary wouldn't hear of them separating."

Bedfordshire Coroner David Morris recorded verdicts of unlawful killing on Sandra Weddell and her mother Traute Maxfield. He said they had been killed by Garry Weddell. He recorded a verdict that Garry Weddell had taken his own life.

The coroner said: "More than one witness spoke of Gary Weddell's controlling nature. He ruled the house and what he said went. Sandra was largely compliant.

"She made it clear to her husband the marriage was coming to an end and she was planning to leave and it appear he, for the most part, resented this."

The coroner said he would consider the evidence and if appropriate would write to the government over the rules governing bail issues and gun licences. Weddell did not have a gun licence and stole the gun he used from the club.

After the hearing, in a family statement Sandra and Traute's relatives said: "It is impossible to describe the utter hurt and devastation this selfish coward has been able to cause to our family and his children.