Princess Anne’s dog trainer shot dead by husband who text her pal saying ‘sorry’

A dog trainer who shot his wife on the Prime Minister's family estate and then turned the gun on himself, sent a text message to his spouse's friend saying: "Didn't go too well… Debbie is dead, so sorry."

John Zurick, 67, is thought to have killed wife Deborah, 56, after she left him for another man.

The couple bought their cottage from Stanley Johnson and were neighbours of his, the Telegraph reports.

The husband and wife were popular dog breeders of working clumber spaniels and trained gundogs for a living, including Princess Anne’s dog Sparkle, The Sun reported.

Mrs Zurick was blasted with a shotgun in February last year after she returned to the cottage to collect her belongings and two dogs, a court heard.

The couple separated in November 2019 after Mrs Zurick started a relationship with a man in Ireland.

A friend of the couple, Elizabeth Murphy, told the inquest how she had sent a text message expressing the hope that Mrs Zurick's trip to collect her things had gone well.

The court heard that John replied: "Didn't go too well. So sorry…Debbie is dead. I will be in a moment. So sorry."

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Mrs Murphy, who was present at the cottage, told police that Mr Zurick had forced her into a locked office, and then moved her to the stables nearby, saying: "If I can't have her, no-one can".

He then turned the shotgun onto himself but didn't die straight away. Later dying of his injuries at a hospital in Plymouth.

Mr Zurick was reportedly a licensed shotgun holder but had his firearms taken away after he was caught drink driving and had expressed an intention to harm himself.

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The police have not been able to establish who the shotgun used to shoot Mrs Zurick belonged too.

It is understood that following Mr Zurick's arrest he had led police to two gun cabinets in his house and assured them he had no further weapons in his possession.

Tony Williams, senior coroner for Somerset, said: "Deborah Zurick was shot twice in the back by John using a shotgun and subsequently he turned the gun on himself.

"As to Deborah's death, there was no evidence that suggested self-defence or accident, only that John intended to end Deborah's life in the most calculated way.

"John then deliberately discharged the shotgun with the intention of ending his life."

Avon and Somerset Police would have prosecuted him for murder had he survived, the hearing was told.

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