Step-mother of burglar shot dead during Colnbrook break-in reacts to inquest

The step-mother of a burglar who was shot dead while trying to break in to a caravan off the Colnbrook by-pass has reacted to a coroner’s conclusion that her step-son was ‘unlawfully killed’.

Wayne Digby, 48, of Crown Meadows, Colnbrook died on June 12, 2017 after he was he was shot in the abdomen during a failed break in a attempt.

He and his accomplice Anthony Hearn, 48, of Moreland Close, Colnbrook, came armed with a machete, cable ties, a wooden mallet, a bottle of bleach with a funnel, bolt cutters and fire accelerant — placed inside a partially cut tennis ball with a rag.

As the pair tried to break in, Reuben Gregory, 73, who lived in a secluded caravan off the Colnbrook by-pass, fired his 12 gauge shotgun through a gap in the caravan’s door, killing Mr Digby.

Hearn pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence.

Mr Gregory pleaded guilty to possession of a shotgun without a certificate and was jailed for 10 months in December 2017.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it could not disprove Mr Gregory’s assertion that he acted in self defence and acted proportionately and decided not to charge him for the death.

But Mr Digby’s inquest at Reading Town Hall on Friday last week, coroner Ian Wade concluded that Mr Gregory had ‘unlawfully killed’ the assailant and had carried out manslaughter.

Speaking to The Express this week, Mr Digby’s mother, Carole Digby, said sitting through the inquest was ‘one of the hardest things’ she had to do.

She said she was not expecting Mr Wade to give the conclusion he did.

“I’m not condoning Wayne, I think what he was doing was a wicked, evil thing, but at the end of the day, he was my family and I loved him very much and there weren’t reason for him to die,” she said.

She says Wayne was ‘in a black cloud of his own’ since childhood and started taking drugs as a coping mechanism.

Carole, who took the father-of-two into her household in his early twenties, said he was frequently in trouble with the law but was starting to get his life back on track after a prison sentence in Bournemouth.

However, she said he started ‘spiraling out of control’ with drug abuse following the death of his 50-year-old brother in January 2017.

“I think he was just spiraling out of control. He didn’t need to be in that sort of life and he knew it but that was the only life he understood,” she added.

“Three quarters of Wayne was bad but the real Wayne we all knew, he was bloody fantastic.”

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