Not guilty: All charges against TV chef accused of shooting deer in Harold Hill park dropped

Deer in Dagnam Park

Deer in Dagnam Park - Credit: Archant

A TV chef who had been wrongly accused of illegally killing deer in a Harold Hill park has spoken of his relief after the case against him collapsed and he walked free from court.

William Alldis of Duck Lane, Epping, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court earlier this month to stand trial for possessing a firearm and ammunition in a public place.

The charge related to an incident in November last year when a dog walker in Dagnam Park had seen Mr Alldis, who is also known as The Shotgun Chef, shooting a deer.

A charge of discharging a firearm in a public place had also originally been brought against Mr Alldis, but this was withdrawn during his first court appearance at Barkingside Magistrate's Court on February 20.

When the case finally made it to Snaresbrook Crown Court on September 16, in front of Judge Grace Amakye, prosecutor Matthew Farmer was forced to ask for more time to consider the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) position.

This was because evidence submitted by Mr Alldis' defence barrister, Peter Glenser QC, proved that the prosecution's suggestion that a six-foot high fence ran along the entire boundary of the private property next to Dagnam Park was inaccurate.

This was a key part of the prosecution's case, as Mr Alldis had throughout insisted that he had shot the deer on nearby private land before it had made its way through one of many gaps in the fence onto a public area.

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Mr Alldis admitted he had then "humanely despatched" the injured deer, but at Snaresbrook the court was told that an independent veterinary expert had confirmed that was the appropriate course of action.

The legislation laid down in the Firearms Act 1968 would require the accused to be in possession of the weapons or ammunition "without reasonable excuse" - in court Mr Farmer accepted Mr Alldis' version of events, which the prosecution could not disprove, would count as reasonable excuse.

Later that week the CPS confirmed it was offering no evidence and a formal verdict of not guilty was recorded.

Speaking after he had been officially cleared, Mr Alldis said: "I am incredibly relieved this is out the way.

"As an ethical shooter who instills in people the importance of shooting responsibly and within the law, it was an incredible strain to have my good name dragged through the mud.

"It doesn't make it any easier to know you are innocent when you are being hauled though the court system.

"I've had plenty of sleepless nights in the last nine months.

"But now this awful ordeal is over, I am just looking forward to getting back into the kitchen and cooking amazing, sustainably sourced wild food and fantastic local produce for my customers once again."

Mr Alldis is widely known for several TV appearances cooking game meat, and last year taught BBC comedian Nick Helm how to shoot for Dave's good show Eat Your Heart Out.

At previous hearings, Mr Glenser had said the case was "having a serious effect on Mr Alldis' ability to earn a living".

Mr Alldis added: "A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I am extremely grateful to my barrister Peter Glenser QC and my solicitor Chris Wagner for exposing the flaws in the case.

"I'm sure I will be nervous the next time I go out with my guns.

"But I am passionate about shooting to put sustainable, healthy game meat on people's plates and I can't wait to get back out in the field."

Mr Alldis runs the Cart Shed Restaurant in Epping.