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Trial hears of 'gun culture' at Traveller site

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
Trial hears of 'gun culture' at Traveller site

A long-running feud between two traveller families ended in murder, a court heard.

Charlie Broadway, 24, wounded Wilfie Isaacs Jnr, 22, before pointing the double-barrel pump action shotgun at his father Wilfred Snr, 49, and shooting him dead at close range, it is claimed.

He had been passed the weapon by his younger brother Billy, 18, on the orders of older brother John, 37, prosecutors allege.

Tensions had been running high between the Broadway and Isaacs families - who lived at the Chubbard's Cross caravan site near Ilminster, Somerset - for almost two years.

William Mousley QC, prosecuting, said the murder happened on the evening of May 5 this year following an earlier violent altercation between Charlie Broadway, his brother-in-law Joseph Finney and relative Riley Jones and Mr Isaacs and his son.

Charlie Broadway, Finney and Jones had attacked Mr Isaacs Snr with a metal bar - causing a cut to his eye - after he had complained that some young children had been rude to him, the court heard. When Wilfie had gone to his father's aid he was punched in the face, it is alleged.

Following this incident Charlie Broadway had challenged Mr Isaacs's son Barry to a fist fight but instead John Broadway allegedly summoned his brother to fetch a shotgun.

"While Billy was gone Barry Isaacs had said to Charlie Broadway there was no need for a gun and challenged him to a fist fight," Mr Mousley said.

"Once Charlie Broadway had the gun in his hand Barry Isaacs told him to put it down.

"Wilfred Isaacs was shot dead not far from his home in front of his partner, two sons and young granddaughter. His son Wilfie Jnr was also shot but luckily for him his injuries were not severe and he survived.

"Charlie then pointed the gun at Wilfred Isaacs Snr's partner Pam and then pointed the gun at Wilfie Jnr's daughter, telling her to go inside or she would also be shot."

Mr Mousley added: "The gun was fired from close range by Charlie Broadway. He had been handed the gun by his younger brother Billy and Billy had fetched the gun following instructions given to him by their oldest brother John.

"It was John's idea for the Isaacs to be shot, Billy made it possible and Charlie carried it out. As such they are all responsible for the murder of Wilfred Isaacs Snr and the attempted murder of Wilfie Isaacs Jnr."

After the shootings John Broadway was allegedly driven from the caravan site by his sister Bonnie Wilson, 30, while Charlie left separately and Billy remained.

Jones and Finney also left. Members of the Isaacs family called for an ambulance and Billy was arrested when the police arrived a short time later.

Mr Isaacs died a short time later from a gunshot wound to the abdomen and pelvis. His son received shotgun pellet wounds to his arm and shoulder.

Charlie Broadway handed himself into police in Bridgwater the following day while John Broadway was arrested on May 7 in Lichfield having originally been driven to Stoke-on-Trent by Wilson, prosecutors allege.

She returned to the caravan site on the morning of May 6 and was arrested.

Mr Mousley said: "The two families knew each other and they had lived on the same site for many years. For more than a year, perhaps two years, they had fallen out and they were not on speaking terms."

He told the jury of eight men and four women that the Broadway family were known to keep shotguns and would often fire them at the caravan site, which Mr Mousley suggested, was to intimidate the Isaacs family.

"How would you feel living in that small community having guns fired again and again?" Mr Mousley asked.

"This gun culture would have been known to all of them either by their specific ownership of these weapons or knowing of them. The Broadways could always have the last word."

Following the incident police recovered the alleged murder weapon in a disused toilet block on the site and also found other shotguns hidden nearby.

Charlie Broadway, John Broadway and Billy Broadway deny the murder of Wilfred Isaacs Snr and the attempted murder of Wilfie Isaacs Jnr.

Charlie Broadway and William Broadway also deny a charge of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Joseph Finney, Riley Jones and Charlie Broadway also deny unlawfully wounding Wilfred Isaacs Snr and the assault occasioning actual bodily harm of Wilfie Isaacs Jnr.

Bonnie Wilson denies a charge of assisting an offender.