A man accused of shooting and seriously injuring a police officer has told a jury: “I’m not a nut job who’s just going to shoot down police for no reason.”
James Leslie, 38, was explaining how Pc Suzanne Hudson, 33, came to be shot with a sawn-off shotgun at his flat in Leeds.
Pc Hudson was peppered through a door at close range in the hand and neck as she and Pc Richard Whiteley carried out routine early morning inquiries about a neighbour dispute, Leeds Crown Court has heard.
Giving evidence, Leslie, repeatedly denied he had any reason to shoot the officer and said he did not mean to discharge the weapon.
He said: “I’m not a nut job who’s just going to shoot down police for no reason”.
Leslie told the jury that if he had wanted to kill police officers he could have shot Pc Hudson again outside his flat and he could have attacked the police who eventually arrested him hours later in Leeds.
“I’ve got no grievance with the police,” he said.
“They’re doing a hard job. They’re doing a good job. They’ve done nothing wrong to me.”
Leslie claims he found the gun in his flat and was intending to brandish it at some people outside he feared were going to attack him.
He said he did not know it was police at the door and had not taken his medication that night for his schizophrenia.
“It happened so fast I can’t explain,” the defendant said. “I don’t even know how the gun went off.”
He said he originally thought it went off when he hit it against a work surface in the kitchen. But he said he accepted expert opinion that this was not possible.
Leslie said he now thought it might have been the drawstring of a shower bag that got caught around the weapon and caused it to go off.
“It’s crazy to say that I would shoot a police officer,” he said.
“I’m looking at a criminal damage charge and now I’m looking at attempted murder.
“I was content with myself. I had a good life. Why would I want to shoot a police officer? It does not make sense. I’m not the sort of person who goes around shooting police officers.”
Leslie denies attempting to murder the 5ft 2in police officer, originally from Nelson, Lancashire, who was shot on the doorstep of his flat in Cardigan Road, Headingley, at 4.15am on December 4.
Pc Whiteley has told the jury how he thought he was going to die when Leslie approached him after the shooting, as he was treating his seriously injured colleague.
The officer told the court that the suspect was carrying the sawn-off shotgun on his bike and said to them: “Do you want some more, you pussies?”
Today, Leslie denied using those words.
“That officer was in shock and, maybe, he misheard,” he told the court.
He said he told the officer: “Oh no. I can’t believe what’s happening. This is an actual nightmare.”
Pc Hudson watched Leslie give evidence in his defence from the public gallery today.
Last week, she showed the jury the extent of her injuries, demonstrating how her hand had been left disfigured and removing her tie and loosening the collar of her uniform to show where she was hit in the neck below her right ear.
The jury has heard how Leslie got away on a bike after the incident but was arrested in a Subway sandwich shop.
He has admitted possessing a prohibited weapon and causing criminal damage.
But he denies attempting to murder Pc Hudson and an alternative charge of causing her grievous bodily harm with intent. He also denies possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life.
The trial continues.