A 72-year-old who lived a reclusive life with his sister could be imprisoned after he shot dead a man who tried to break into his caravan.
Reuben Gregory was woken by his sister’s screams in the early hours of 12 June as someone attempted to break into the caravan they shared in the countryside near Heathrow.
The pair attempted to fight the men off with a knife, but Gregory fired a double-barrelled shotgun through a hole in the door and hit 48-year-old Wayne Digby with a fatal shot to the chest.
The man’s alleged accomplice, Anthony Hearn, was also injured.
Since the 1960s, Gregory and his sister Kathleen have lived a frugal life in the caravan – which is accessible only via a footpath and has no running water, phone line or electricity.
After the shooting, he called the police from a neighbour’s phone, telling them of an incident after a “gang” had attempted to break in.
“Yes I’m the one who’s done it mate,” he said. “I’ve been attacked at the caravan.”
Later investigation by the police revealed more weapons.
A wooden mallet, cable ties, a bottle of bleach, a funnel and bolt crimpers were reportedly found in a bag near Digby’s body, and a machete with Hearn’s DNA in a nearby street.
A search of Gregory’s caravan uncovered a tennis ball full of flammable liquid and stuffed with a rag.
Gregory was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, but the court ruled he was acting in self-defence.
He pleaded guilty to having a firearm without a certificate at East Berkshire Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Gregory said he had owned the weapon since the 1980s, when he and his family were hit by another break-in, and had been refused a licence because the caravan was not deemed a safe place to keep a firearm.
Defence lawyer Umar Khan said Gregory “fully accepts” he kept a weapon without a certificate.
“He didn’t want this trouble, he lives a frugal lifestyle, he and his sister,” he said. “Trouble came to him.”
The illegal firearms charge carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
Gregory will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court at a date yet to be set.