Died 8th August 2013

Caroline Parry (46) was shot dead in Seabreeze Avenue in Newport on 8th August 2013. She was found dead in the street next to her car. After her death neighbours reported hearing three gunshots.

In June 2014 her husband Christopher Parry (49) from Cwmbran, from whom she was separated, went on trial for her murder at Newport Crown court. He denies murder but has admitted manslaughter.

Ms Parry was the mother of two children, a19-year-old daughter and a16-year-old son.

Ms Parry lived in Cwmbran for a number of years, but had recently moved to Newport.

Parry was described as a “controlling and dominant” individual. It is alleged he shot Ms Parry dead because he could not accept she had left him. Ms Parry was shot in the back at close range near her home.

Prosecutor Michael Mather-Lees QC said Parry waited for his wife to leave her new lover’s home on the morning of the shooting, before removing a semi-automatic shotgun from the boot of his car.

Mr Mather-Lees said that after shooting her he then turned the gun on himself, which left him with “substantial head injuries”.

Newport Crown Court heard Parry had been “controlling” during the 27-year marriage.

Mr Mather-Lees said: “Such was the state of the marriage she left and went to live with her mother, telling her husband she would never go back to him. But he could not accept the fact that his wife had left him after years of unhappiness. She later went to live with a man called Gary Bidmead who she had met before she left the marital home.”

In the months before the shooting Parry, who had a shotgun licence and kept three firearms at his Cwmbran home, kept his wife “under surveillance” and phoned her persistently, the jury was told. Mr Mather-Lees claimed the shooting was a “carefully planned scheme” by a man “not prepared to let go”. He said “Parry later claimed it was his intention to kill himself in front of his wife – not shoot her. If that was the case why did he have a semi-automatic with three cartridges? The answer is he was planning to kill her and kill her he did.”

After he shot himself Parry was taken to the city’s Royal Gwent Hospital with serious head injuries and was treated under police guard. It was more than a month before Gwent Police officers could interview him.

The trial continues.

The case was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) because of prior police contact before the incident.

After the shooting Chief Inspector Huw Nicholas confirmed police were not looking to speak to anyone else about the incident, adding: “This is a tragic incident and our priority and focus is to give the appropriate and specialist support to the families of those involved and to investigate and establish what happened here this morning. While I am limited as to what I can say about the people involved, what I can say is it is known that they had previously been in a relationship which had come to the attention of police. For this reason we have referred the matter to the IPCC.”

After the deaths, Lliswerry ward councillor Allan Morris has told residents not to panic.
He told Wales Online: “People shouldn’t be alarmed. This appears to be a tragic but isolated incident. It is no reflection on the general demeanour of the area. The police response appears to have been magnificent.”

Note: This report was drawn from reports in the BBC and Wales On-line.

FOD Comment: As is usual in cases such as this, we have been unable to find out much about the victim in this case. The media have reported far more about her killer. We do not know the result of the IPCC report, but would be interested to know what protections were put in place for this woman and why this man was allowed a gun licence. We note Cllr Alan Morris’ reference to this as a “tragic but isolated incident”. In fact, such ‘incidents’ are all too common. One of the reasons they are so common is because domestic violence and harassment are not taken seriously enough and domestic homicide is still viewed as family ‘tragedy’ rather than the terrible crime it is.

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