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Lawyer allegedly shot by man who lost case

July 4, 2012 at 2:08 AM

DEVIZES, England, July 4 (UPI) -- The man suspected of shooting an English solicitor in a Wiltshire market town had lost an expensive legal battle to a client of the firm, records show.

Michael Chudley, 62, a building contractor, was arrested Monday afternoon about a half hour after James Ward was shot in the head in his office in Devizes. Chudley was formally charged early Wednesday with attempted murder and firearms offenses, Wiltshire police said, and was scheduled to appear in court in Salisbury.

Ward, 59, remained in a Bristol hospital with critical injuries. A neighbor in Westbury described him as a "lovely man" who was active in village affairs.

"We have all been praying for him at the local village church and we hope that he gets better -- you have to have faith," the neighbor told The Guardian. "He's just such a nice man."

The Daily Telegraph said Ward's law firm, Morris, Goddard and Ward, represented a man Chudley sued in a dispute about payment for work done on the man's house in Surrey. A high court judge ruled that any profits Chudley made from the forced sale of his mock Tudor house in Rowde, outside Devizes, would have to go to the firm's client.

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