Court report by Julia Roberts
Lovers who allegedly plotted to murder a terminally ill man were fuelled by ‘passion, jealousy and infatuation’, a court has heard.
Married mum of three Hayley Weatherall and her boyfriend Glenn Pollard, 49, shared intimate phone chats and swapped sexually explicit photos all the while they were said to have embarked on ‘a mission’ to get her husband Raymond Weatherall ‘out of the way’.
They are accused, together with Pollard’s teenage ‘devoted’ daughter, Heather, of plotting several attempts on his life, culminating in shooting him in the face at Sandwich Marina on November 29 last year.
In one month alone, including the build-up to and subsequent aftermath of Mr Weatherall being shot, there were a staggering 2,310 texts and calls between them.
A jury was told the couple’s illicit relationship began at the funeral of Mr Weatherall’s brother on June 12 last year, and was the ‘driving motivation’ for a series of planned, aborted or failed attempts on his life.
These included poisoning him with cyanide, blowing up a swimming pool heater, injecting him with a potentially fatal dose of insulin, and pushing him overboard on a fishing trip.
Within weeks of the affair starting Hayley Weatherall was texting Pollard, who had been best friends with Mr Weatherall for 30 years, to say ‘If I could get out of my marriage I would babe. Trust me xxx.’
It is alleged that less than two weeks before Mr Weatherall was shot, as he worked felling trees at Sandwich Marina on November 29 last year, the lovers talked about a ‘new life and new start’ together.
When Pollard asked Weatherall in a text what she wanted for Christmas, she replied ‘I’m hoping for a new start with a very special man’.
She also sent him a handwritten card addressed to ‘The One I Love at Christmas’ as her husband recovered from the shooting.
It read: “Thank you for everything you do to me. You are one in a million. You are perfect in every way. I love you so much.
“Loves, hugs and kisses always and 4 ever. Love me. Hayley. Sweet cheeks.”
The court heard on Monday Pollard was himself infatuated with the mum of three and may have also been responsible for setting fire to the Weatherall family camper van to stop them going away on holiday together in August last year.
It is alleged he even recruited his ‘devoted’ daughter Heather to assist them in murdering the man she knew as ‘Uncle Ray’.
Prosecutor Simon Taylor told Maidstone Crown Court: “Whenever Glenn Pollard’s infatuation with Hayley began, by the mid-summer of 2017 it had reached a level of intensity that is illustrative of the true cause of the sequence of life-threatening and damaging events that had befallen and were to befall Raymond Weatherall.
“The Crown say these messages show that the driving motivation behind each of the attempts to kill was the passionate relationship that existed between Glenn Pollard and Hayley Weatherall.
“By July 2017 it was a passionate and intense relationship – the sort where jealousy often plays a part.
“After all, Glenn Pollard had to leave Hayley Weatherall with his best friend Raymond Weatherall and it couldn’t have been easy for him or easy for him to live with.”
Of the texts about starting a new life together after Christmas 2017, Mr Taylor added: “The question arises as to how they were going to start that new life?
“Were they going to tell Raymond of the affair over Christmas or were they going to try to kill him?
“The Crown’s case of course is the fact that the way the couple were going to start a new life together was killing the one person that stood in their way, Raymond Weatherall.”
The court was told the plot to end Mr Weatherall’s life continued after the failed shooting.
Weatherall, of Molland Lea, Ash near Canterbury, Glenn Pollard and Heather Pollard, both of Church Lane, West Stourmouth, Canterbury, all deny conspiracy to murder between June 1 2017 and March 31 this year.
The jury of eight men and four women, together with the judge and the defendants’ legal teams, went today (October 23) to Sandwich Marina to see where Mr Weatherall, who is in his 50s, was shot.
It is alleged he was fired at from a grassbank across the River Stour and opposite the boatyard, from a distance of up to 40 metres away.
A .22 rimfire rifle fitted with telescopic eyesight and sound moderator was later found at the Pollard family home. A ballistic expert concluded it was possible it was the gun used to fire at Mr Weatherall.
Glenn Pollard is a registered gun owner and described as a ‘fine shot’. Heather Pollard was also said to have access to her dad’s firearms and would accompany him on shoots.
He denied when first interviewed by police that he was having an affair with Weatherall or being involved in the shooting.
Weatherall later claimed after her arrest that she was scared of Pollard. But the court was told police did not find any messages that suggested a ‘cooling off’ on her part, nor any fear of coercion being exercised.
It is alleged she even confessed to her children’s headteacher how she gave her husband, who also suffered from diabetes, several sleeping pills as ‘instructed’ by Pollard.
But she claimed she then backed out of injecting him with a full vial of insulin.
The only one who knew of the affair at the time was Heather Pollard who, the court heard, calls herself Arthur.
Police found a Facebook message to her from Weatherall on October 26 which said: “Hey hun I just wanna say a massive thank you for keeping your dad and my secret, it means a lot to me xxxx.”
It is alleged Pollard, then aged 19 and described as a ‘Daddy’s girl’ who idolises her father, carried out ‘interesting and illuminating’ internet searches after the shooting.
These included ‘creative ways to kill’, ‘techniques of silent killing’ and ’16 ways to kill someone and not get caught’.
She also shared texts with her father which ‘established a desire to kill’ Mr Weatherall, said the prosecutor.
The court heard once the affair was known to police, they also discovered Heather Pollard’s Citroen car had been found ‘parked awkwardly’ and seemingly abandoned in the area of the marina on the day of the shooting.
Police later calculated it took just four minutes to walk the distance between her car and where the shooter may have taken aim.
The vehicle was also fitted with a tracker by her insurance company, and it revealed it had been driven away at 2.07pm, just five minutes after a 999 call had been made.
Texts between father and daughter also allegedly revealed an aborted shooting of Mr Weatherall in Rainham a week before the one at the marina.
Mr Weatherall, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2015, is due to give evidence tomorrow.
Fragments of the single round of ammunition are still lodged in his head, having passed through his right cheek, throat and into his left cheek.
A pathologist later concluded that a minor deviation of the missile’s tract could have proved fatal. But although the injury caused pain and bleeding, Mr Weatherall remained conscious.
The court was told that as even while the lovers were at the hospital visiting Mr Weatherall, they swapped texts expressing their regret the alleged murder bid had failed.
Weatherall sent a message saying ‘They didn’t do a very good job did they? He’s still here’, to which Pollard replied ‘I’m not paying him the full amount’.
The trial continues.