London

Ex-wife 'shot over property settlement fears'

A north London businessman who feared his ex-wife would "take everything" in a financial settlement shot her in the head before a hearing, a court heard.

Sonia Delvaille, 65, survived after being shot three times in the head but has been left with brain damage.

She divorced Ronald Seymour, 70, in 1996 but they reunited and until last August lived together in Finchley.

He allegedly told his solicitor about the shooting in February. At the Old Bailey he denied attempted murder.

Mr Seymour, who is retired, also denies having a firearm with intent.

The couple had been together for 40 years and had split for seven months in 1996 before getting back together to live in the family home in Hendon Lane.

Sarah Whitehouse, prosecuting, said Mr Seymour, who owned four properties, led a "colourful life" and used to run a successful pub.

After the pair went their separate ways in 2009 the victim consulted solicitors and a financial settlement was drawn up.

'Abusive marriage'

As she left her solicitor's office a day before a court hearing Mr Seymour confronted her in the street and shot her, the jury heard.

Miss Whitehouse said: "There is absolutely no dispute at all in this case that Ronald Seymour carried out the shooting.

"The defendant shot her at point-blank range in the head. She was shouting 'No, no, no'.

"Some witnesses said he dragged her along the road. She was critically ill but survived, albeit with brain damage."

The court heard he was carrying a revolver in a carrier bag and later dumped the firearm and bullets in a river close to his home, from where it was recovered.

The victim, who is too ill to give evidence against her husband, told her sisters and lawyer that Mr Seymour had been "physically abusive" towards her during their marriage.

Miss Whitehouse said Mr Seymour allegedly told police that "he feared his wife would take everything".

The case continues.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites