A terminally ill father of seven whose wife and best friend allegedly plotted to murder him today told how he was set alight in a swimming pool heater explosion.
Raymond Weatherall, who was diagnosed with several brain tumours in 2015, said he was immediately ablaze after igniting the solid fuel boiler at his family home in June last year.
A court heard the 53-year-old had to jump into the pool to extinguish the flames, which caused second degree burns to his shoulders, arms, hands and legs.
It is alleged the explosion was the first of a number of 'planned, aborted or failed' attempts on his life by his 32-year-old wife Hayley, her 49-year-old lover Glenn Pollard, and his daughter, Heather Pollard.
Giving evidence today, Mr Weatherall said it was the first time he had fired up the heater that year when it exploded.
He had used it the previous year without problem.
Speaking of the moment it burst into flames he told the court: 'I was stood about four, five feet away from the boiler as I call it when there was this almighty bang, the door on it blew open and covered me with all the kindling and the remains of the lit fuel.
'I was ablaze in as many seconds as you could ever imagine. I rolled and rolled and rolled but no way was it going out. So I struggled towards the pool.
'My jacket was alight, my shoulders. I knew where I was going and knew where I had to go. My son Sam came screaming over and pushed me into the pool which is what put me out.'
Mr Weatherall was taken to hospital and spent several days at the special burns unit in East Grinstead, Sussex.
Mr Weatherall had been with Hayley for nine years, marrying in December 2015. They have three children aged between four and eight, and he also father to four others, all in their 20s.
He has known Glenn Pollard for more than 20 years and regarded him as 'more or less like a brother', Maidstone Crown Court in Kent heard.
Hayley Weatherall, of Ash near Canterbury, Kent, Glenn Pollard and Heather Pollard, now 20, and both of West Stourmouth, Canterbury, all deny conspiracy to murder between June 1 2017 and March 31 this year.
At the start of their trial, it was said that despite dying from cancer, they embarked 'on a mission' to get him 'out of the way'.
As well as the heater explosion, they are accused of being responsible for shooting him in the face while he was felling trees at Sandwich Marina in Kent on November 29 last year.
However, when that failed to kill him, other ways were allegedly discussed about how they could kill Mr Weatherall, who was given 18 months to live in early 2016.
These included poisoning him with cyanide, injecting him with a fatal dose of insulin, and pushing him overboard on a fishing trip.
Internet searches were also allegedly carried out by Heather, then aged 19, which referred to 'techniques on silent killing', 'creative ways to kill someone' and '16 steps to kill someone and not get caught'.
The court heard the heater explosion was initially thought at the time to be a 'mere accident'.
It was only after the affair was discovered in January this year that police investigating the marina shooting looked at previous incidents.
The court heard the explosion happened about 10 days before Mr Weatherall attended his brother's funeral.
It is alleged it was at this funeral that the affair between his wife and best friend began.
They became infatuated, the court heard, engaging in intimate phone conversations and exchanging explicit photos of each other on WhatsApp.
Later the court heard how Mr Weatherall was working at the marina with his tree surgeon son Sam and daughter Jade, when he was shot at about 2pm on November 29 last year.
He told the court Mr Pollard knew of their whereabouts but he thought there was 'nothing untoward at that point'.
He said he was fired at as he was squatting down on the riverbank, having a smoke and a drink break.
'Next thing I know there was this almighty crack and I thought something had fallen out the tree and hit me on the head. But it became very evident within seconds it was not that,' Mr Weatherall told the jury.
'Blood was starting to pour out of my nose, out of one of my ears. I couldn't breathe with the amount of blood that was in my throat and nose.
'It took me a couple of minutes to sort of semi regain my senses, when I blew all the blood out my nose to get rid of it so I could actually breathe.
'Then I proceeded to calm my son down. He was absolutely hysterical, running around the yard screaming, shouting, crying. I had to get hold of him.
'It might well sound very strange but I said 'Sam, look at me'. He said 'Dad, Dad, is it your head?' I said 'It is my head boy, but it ain't my tumours'.
'I was aware of an ambulance being called. But I was well on top of it all by then. I got to grips with what happened. I knew I had been shot. It became so evident.
'I had a hole here (pointing to right cheek) and a hole there and there was blood but I knew I was alright.'
Mr Weatherall was taken to hospital, where he was visited by both his wife and Pollard.
The court heard that while there, Mrs Weatherall sent a text to her lover saying 'Whoever it was you paid to shoot Ray, they do a good job, did they?' to which Pollard replied 'I'm not paying him the full amount.'
Despite his injuries, Mr Weatherall was allowed home that day. He required what was called a major facial split but it could not be done due to his tumours.
He told the jury fragments of the bullet still remain in his face.
He said: 'I had a job to open my mouth and get my tongue out. They reckon it damaged all the nerves in my jaw. I struggled for a few days but pushed on.... I am now 99.9% sorted.'
The bullet entered one cheek, passed through his throat and out the other cheek. A pathologist later concluded that a minor deviation of the missile's tract could have proved fatal.
It is alleged he was fired at from grassland 30 to 40 metres away on the opposite bank of the River Stour.
The court heard once the affair was known by police, they discovered Heather Pollard's Citroen car had been found 'parked awkwardly' and seemingly abandoned in the area on the day of the shooting.
Police later calculated it took four minutes to walk the distance between her car and from where the shooter may have taken aim.
The vehicle was also fitted with a tracker by her insurance company, and it revealed the car had arrived near the marina just after 8am and was driven away at 2.07pm, just five minutes after Mr Weatherall's daughter had dialled 999.
Heather Pollard later claimed that she had met a stranger on a dog walk and, despite having a girlfriend and no sexual experience with men, she had sex with him.
She also told her boss she had not shown up for her farm job that morning as her grandmother had got stuck on a stairlift.
The jury was told both she and her father had access to guns and ammunition stored unsecurely at their home. Glenn Pollard was a registered gun owner and considered to be 'a fine shot', while his daughter accompanied him on shoots.
A .22 rimfire rifle fitted with telescopic sight and sound moderator together with noise-suppressing ammunition was found at their property, as well as camouflage clothing and netting.
A ballistic expert concluded it was possible that the gun had been used in the shooting.
But although evidence showed Glenn Pollard not to be in the vicinity of the marina when his best friend was shot, he was 'orchestrating the murder attempt from afar', said prosecutor Simon Taylor.
Pollard and Hayley Weatherall shared, added Mr Taylor, an 'intense and passionate' relationship which was the 'driving motivation' behind each attempt to kill her husband.
The court heard Mr Weatherall, who also suffers from Type 2 diabetes, found his wife in her dressing gown at 4pm on Saturday, March 10 this year.
She had a pocket full of tablets and several 'suicide' letters in the other, and was 'a broken down wreck', said Mr Weatherall.
He also knew she had by that time given a statement to police. 'She was crying, sobbing and gasping for breath, and that's when she told me the rest of what had been going on,' he said.
'I put my arms around her and told her to calm down. It was a case of calming her down before she spoke.
'She started going on about the statement that she gave. It was all admittance. She spilt the beans about what had been going on, how long it had been going on.'
They went into their bedroom out to be out of earshot of the children. It was then that she was said to have confessed to him about the plan to give him a fatal overdose.
'Hayley told me that Glenn had given her £500 in an envelope and then proceeded to present her with a handful of sleeping tablets, asking her to crush it up and put it in my food or whatever,' said Mr Weatherall.
'She assured me that she didn't do that and I wouldn't have no reason not to believe her because the morning after the night she should have crushed them up and put them in my dinner, I was in the kitchen and threw something in the bin.
'I can distinctly remember seeing tablets in the bin. I didn't think nothing of it other than Hayley may have been having a clear out of old tablets.
'She said she had to crush them up and put them into my food by any which way. Once I was asleep she was told to inject me with a full insulin 'pen', the whole thing.'
Mr Weatherall said Hayley also confessed to him about her text to Pollard after the shooting.
'She told me what she said to Glenn. She told him 'Whoever it was you paid to shoot him wasn't a very good shot were they, ha ha ha' or something along those lines.'
But he told the jury his wife did not say whether she had known about the shooting before it happened.
Asked by Mr Taylor what she told him as to her knowledge of the shooting, Mr Weatherall added: 'Only that Glenn said to her 'I'll take care of him. I'll get someone to shoot him. If not, I'll do it myself'.
'Hence the text message from Hayley to Glenn when I was at the hospital.'
He told the court he found out that the affair was instigated by Hayley at the funeral of his brother, Kevin, on June 12 last year.
She sent Pollard a text complimenting him on how smart he looked in his suit, to which he replied that she looked 'not too bad herself'.
After his wife's alleged confession to him, Mr Weatherall reported it to police, taking the letters and the envelope of cash which Hayley had taken to her mum's house.
He then took her to Folkestone police station where she was interviewed for a second time.
'I waited for her, they let her out. Two days later there was a bang on the door and police were there to take her away,' he added.
He later discovered that her suicide letter to him read: 'Ever so sorry for everything that has happened. I think this is the easiest way for me just to take the coward's way out.'