Princess Anne's gun dog trainer died from shotgun wound to the head

Princess Anne’s gun dog trainer died from shotgun wound to the head after shooting his wife to death at Boris Johnson family estate, inquest hears

  • John Frederick Zurick died in hospital after shooting himself with a shotgun 
  • Shortly prior he killed his estranged wife Debbie at their home in Somerset
  • At an inquest yesterday the hearing confirmed he died from a shotgun wound 

Princess Anne’s gun dog trainer died from a shotgun wound to the head after shooting his wife at Boris Johnson’s family estate, an inquest heard yesterday. 

John Frederick Zurick was taken to Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital with severe injuries after the incident on February 22. 

Paramedics were called to the cottage in Winsford, near Minehead, on the Prime Minister’s family estate in Somerset, but were unable to save his wife Debbie, 56.

The inquest, which opened yesterday at Plymouth Coroners’ Court, heard that Southampton-born Zurick was estranged from his wife.

Pictured: Debbie Zurick and John Zurick. Paramedics were claled 

Pictured: Debbie and John Zurick with their dogs. An inquest started in Plymouth yesterday

Paramedics were called to the cottage, on the Prime Minister’s family estate in Somerset, but were unable to save Mrs Zurick (pictured)

The hearing confirmed that he had died from a shotgun wound to his head.

The coroner Ian Arrow was told that Avon and Somerset police are carrying out a murder investigation into the death of Mrs Zurick.

The inquest was adjourned and the case will be passed on to a coroner in Somerset who is dealing with Mrs Zurick’s death.

The couple, who had been married for 30 years, bred and trained clumber spaniels.

The Zuricks were regulars at game shoots and were key figures in the Working Clumber Spaniel Society, of which Princess Anne is president.

On the society’s website, Mr Zurick describes how he trained Anne’s dog Sparkle but received a rebuke from the princess when the hound failed to bring back a pheasant.

They were also close neighbours of Stanley Johnson – father of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

A picture posted on the couple’s social media showing Boris Johnson meeting their dog, also called Boris

Princess Anne, 69, has expressed her sadness after learning a dog breeder who worked for her, Debbie Zurick, had been shot dead in the cottage where Boris Johnson grew up (pictured second right with the Queen’s daugthter is John Zurick who allegedly shot his wife)

Stanley Johnson previously told the Daily Mail: ‘Both I and my whole family are shocked, stunned and saddened by this tragic incident.

‘We very much regret the passing of Mrs Zurick. She was a neighbour and she was much loved.

‘She was honorary secretary of the Working Clumber Spaniel Society and was much loved for the work she did, in the society and in Exmoor and beyond.’

The Zuricks bought the property, where the Prime Minister spent some of his childhood, from Mr Johnson’s father Stanley for £440,000 in 2013.

Stanley Johnson owns the neighbouring 14th century farmhouse on the Nethercote estate with his wife Jennifer.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Rice, of the major crime investigation team, said: ‘This is a tragic incident and detectives, investigators and crime scene specialists are working closely with local uniformed officers to examine the scene and reassure the local community.

Officers were called to the property after reports of a hearing a gunshot in Winsford, Somerset

Winsford borders Exmoor National Park and is home to a 12th century pub, The Royal Oak Exmoor

‘Dedicated liaison officers are also supporting family members and friends through this difficult time.

‘We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident, and our focus is now on supporting those affected by it, and completing our inquiries so we can provide a file of evidence to the coroner’s office for Somerset.

‘My team and I will continue to co-operate with the Independent Office for Police Conduct on their investigation.

‘There has been a large police presence in the small hamlet of Winsford and I would like to thank the local community for their patience, co-operation and support while we conducted our investigations.

‘I would like anyone with concerns, worries or any information to speak to their local neighbourhood officers either face-to-face, by calling 101, or contacting us through our website.’


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