By Helen Gavaghan, Bradford Crown Court, UK. 29th October, 2019.


A jury at Bradford Crown Court this afternoon returned unanimous not guilty verdicts in the trial of William Lowther (47) on charges of the attempted murder of Kevin Ruding, a young man in his twenties. The crime took place in Bradford in the early hours of 30th January 2019. The second charge Mr Lowther had faced was that of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. The court was told people wearing black, with balaclavas and gloves had smashed their way into the home of Mr Ruding [Incorrectly this report said in this sentence 'into the home of Mr Lowther' for some time on the afternoon of 29th October, 2019. The context of the published story as a whole, which is correct, made clear that using the name Lowther in this position must be incorrect.] and his partner, Emily. Mr Ruding was shot in the leg, turned over and was then shot point blank in the chest. Mr Ruding has had to have part of his leg amputated. When the intrusion began, Emily had moved into a nearby room with their young son.

The canister used to smash a way into the house was left at the scene. DNA on that canister was shown to be that of Mr Lowther, but the forensic evidence was that this was a low quality sample of DNA, and it was not possible to say when and how Mr Lowther's DNA got onto the canister. Existence of the DNA, for which the Court was given an alternate explanation, had, argued the defence, established a confirmation bias with regard to other evidence in the case.

Those who committed the crime had two shotguns and an axe. Two of the motor vehicles used during the offence were burned out. False number plates were used. During the trial, which at times was tetchy between Counsel, His Honour Judge Durham-Hall QC called the crime a cold-blooded attempt at execution. Security in the Court was tight.

Publication for Issue 4 (Oct. - Dec.) 2019 of Science, People & Politics ISSN 1751-598X (online)

Published first online at 15.15 GMT, on 29th October, 2019. Minor modification at 15.21pm GMT. Distributed on Twitter.
The correction highlighted in brackets above was made by the reporter (Helen Gavaghan) at 21.54 GMT on 29th October 2019.
The corrections and names will all be moved into the pdf version of iss 4 (Oct-Dec), 2019 of Science, People & Politics.