Tributes flow in for shot solicitor who lost three-week fight for life (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Tributes flow in for shot solicitor who lost three-week fight for life
Friends and colleagues have been paying tribute to Devizes solicitor Jim Ward who died on Sunday nearly three weeks after being gunned down in his office.
Mr Ward, 58, suffered serious head injuries in the incident on July 2 when he was shot at close range with a sawn-off shotgun at the offices of Morris, Goddard and Ward in St John’s Street.
He died in Frenchay Hospital near Bristol on Sunday afternoon, surrounded by members of his family, without having regained consciousness.
Judge Francis Goddard, who set up the firm with Mr Ward and his wife Nicola Morris in 1988, said he was distressed to hear of his friend’s death. He said: “As a fellow student and then partner at work, Jim was my close and loyal friend, always helping others, never selfish with his time.
“He was my mentor in and out of the office. If there was any problem, large or small, Jim was the one I would naturally turn to.
“He was so immensely knowledgeable in so many fields. He had degrees in physics and law. His talents knew few boundaries.
“To his family the loss is immeasurable. To Devizes the loss is immense. “He will be always be remembered by friends, and those who only had the good fortune to meet him briefly, as one who cared and helped wherever he could. He was such a good man.”
Scott Hulland, the owner of Quintessence restaurant whose flat adjoins the office where Mr Ward was shot, said: “I am devastated by what has happened. Every time I walk into our bedroom I cannot stop thinking that it all happened on the other side of that wall.
“I can’t imagine how Nicky and her family are feeling right now. It is just horrific.”
Roger Chadwick, partner at Awdry Bailey and Douglas and president of the Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Law Society, offered his condolences to Mr Ward’s family. He said: “Solicitors are no more vulnerable than any other profession This is a one-off incident. A solicitor’s job is to calm the emotions that are inevitable in neighbour disputes and there would be a lot more confrontation without their involvement.”
MGW Law partner Nicola Grosvenor said: “Jim was a man of great tenacity and kindness who set out, with his partners more than 20 years ago, to form an accessible, friendly, local law firm in a quiet and pleasant part of the country. “Like any boss he liked to do things his way but he was always kind and generous to his staff. “All of us who have worked with him agree that he was a principled, kind and humane man and an accomplished solicitor. “He followed the very simple but fundamental principle of doing what he believed was right and just.
“We wish to convey our deepest sympathy to Jim’s family. He is a great loss to us all, both as a nice man and a great boss. We will all miss him terribly.”
Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders, said: “Our thoughts are with Jim’s family and friends at this time. “Jim was a popular and well-respected man. At the time of his death his family were with him.
“I will now be working with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure the criminal charges faced by the man already charged with attempted murder properly reflect this change in the circumstances of the case.”
It has been reported that Mr Ward’s life-support system was switched off on Sunday but Judge Goddard said: “His body could not take any more and he just slipped away.” n Michael Chudley, 62, formerly of Rowde, has been charged with the attempted murder of Mr Ward. He is due to appear before Winchester Crown Court on September 24.