Man injured after shooting wife dead on Prime Minister's family estate dies

Martin Evans
Debbie Zurick and John Zurick

A man who was critically injured when he shot himself after murdering his wife on the Prime Minister’s family estate, has died.

John Zurick shot his estranged wife, Debbie, with an illegally held firearm on Saturday, outside their cottage which is situated within the 500 acre farm belonging to Stanley Johnson, father of Boris.

Mr Zurick, who was angry that his wife had begun a new relationship with a man in Ireland, then turned the gun on himself, but managed to survive.

He was airlifted to hospital with catastrophic injuries and was said to be in a life threatening condition.

Police said he was even too ill to be formally arrested on suspicion of the murder.

Debbie Zurick trained one of Princess Anne's gun dogs

But he died on Thursday afternoon as a result of the wounds he had suffered, Avon and Somerset Police have confirmed.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: "John Zurick was taken to a hospital in Devon with severe shotgun injuries following an incident on Saturday 22 February. 

"He died from his injuries earlier today. A post-mortem examination will now be carried out and a file will be prepared for the Coroner’s office.

"A 56-year-old woman, formally identified as Deborah Zurick, was pronounced dead at the scene of Saturday’s incident. A post-mortem examination confirmed she died from shotgun injuries and her death is being treated as murder."

DCI 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.

“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 enquiries 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 (IOPC) on their investigation.”

Debbie Zurick

The couple, who were renowned dog breeders, specialising in Clumber Spaniels, married in Hove in 1990 and moved to Nethercote near Winsford several years ago, buying their cottage from Mr Johnson senior.

Following Mrs Zurick’s death, both the Prime Minister's father and the Princess Royal, whose dog Sparkle, she had trained, paid tribute.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday: “The Princess Royal is saddened to hear of the death of Mrs  Debbie Zurick. She will be sorely missed as secretary of the Working Clumber Spaniel Society, of which Her Royal Highness is Patron.”

Mr Johnson told the Telegraph: "Both I and my whole family are shocked, stunned and saddened by this tragic incident.

"I personally pay tribute to the inspirational qualities of Debbie Zurick and I recognise for example the wonderful work she did as secretary of the Working Clumber Spaniel Society.

"She will be sorely missed on Exmoor and in the much wider world of dog lovers and dog breeders.”

The couple split up before Christmas with Mrs Zurick moving to Ireland, where she met a wealthy farmer in the Wexford area and began a new relationship.

Mr Zurick had struggled to come to terms with the break up and was arrested earlier this year following a drink driving incident.

As a result, Avon and Somerset police seized all of his licensed firearms.

However it is thought he still had to illegally held firearms, and when his wife returned to the property at the weekend to collect some of her belongings he shot her.