Princess Anne speaks of heartache after friend shot dead in murder-suicide at Boris Johnson childhood home


PRINCESS Anne has spoken of her heartbreak at the death of her friend Debbie Zurick in a tragic murder-suicide on Saturday.

The Princess said that she was “saddened to hear of the death” and that Mrs Zurick will be “sorely missed” in a statement made through her spokesman.

Princess Anne has expressed her loss at the death of Mrs Zurick through her spokesman
Debbie Zurick, 56, was shot dead at her Somerset farmhouse on Saturday night
Debbie and her husband John (second right), who is now in critical condition, were friends with Princess Anne
John Zurick, 67, (left) allegedly shot his estranged wife Debbie, 56, after he discovered she had a new boyfriend, but was days from possibly being stripped of his guns

In a modest tribute to the Princess Royal’s friend and gun-dog breeder, Zurick, the spokesman said: “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.”

Last year Mrs Zurick trained a puppy called Sedgehurst Millie for Anne.

In August, a statement from the society on social media said the puppy would soon be “living in the Princesss kennels”.

John Zurick, 67, is accused of killing his wife of 30 years, Debbie Zurick, 56, after she revealed her new lover before turning the shotgun on himself at Boris Johnsons childhood home.

Mr Zurick remains in a critical condition and is in police custody after the shotgun bloodbath in the sleepy village of Winsford, Somerset.

HOAR Online can today reveal that police had tried to seize all of his guns from his farmhouse earlier this month.

But it is feared he was able to source a gun from elsewhere or cops missed an unlicensed firearm in the raid, before his wife was shot dead.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: We can confirm we previously attended the address where this incident happened to seize licensed firearms as part of a separate investigation.

Were satisfied that no firearms licensed to any of the occupants remained at the premises following this visit.


Police have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) after admitting they had “prior contact” with the Zuricks.

We can also reveal Mr Zurick is due in court on March 12 to face a drink-drive charge.

He was allegedly more than two times over the drink-drive limit while riding a motorbike near his home on February 5.

When arrested, he was found to have 78 micrograms of alcohol to 100 ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35.

A friend today claimed Zurick turned to booze in a big way when his marriage started to collapse late last year.

Neighbours said Debbie had tried to end her 30-year marriage to John and she had become “exasperated” with her husband and stayed at a friend’s house in Ireland.

Dog trainer Debbie, who is believed to have received cancer treatment, was shot as she returned to the cottage on Saturday with a female pal to collect possessions.

The couple’s cottage in the sleepy village of Winsford in now at the centre of a murder investigation

Police found Debbies body outside the farmhouse “with severe injuries. Officers carried out CPR but she died at the scene.

Her friend – described by cops as a “key witness – was found nearby unarmed.

The couple, who live next door to Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley, trained and bred gundogs for a living and were part of the Working Clumber Spaniel Society which boasts Princess Anne as president.

They trained Princess Annes dog Sparkle for her.

Neighbours next to the Johnson family’s 500-acre estate said the Zuricks’ relationship was in crisis and that Debbie had tried to end their 30-year marriage.

A friend told the Daily Mail: “They split up a few months ago and Debbie went to live in Ireland to get away from it all.”

Another neighbour said: “Debbie wanted a separation.

Debbie Zurick bred gundogs for a living and trained Princess Annes dog Sparkle for her

Boris Johnson pictured visiting the property and posing with the couple’s dog

Police initially found Debbie’s body outside the farmhouse ‘with severe injuries but she later died at the scene

“Things came to a head over the last couple of weeks. Ive been told that shes dead and that is such awful news.”

Debbie’s half-brother Phillip Townsend, 44 told HOAR: I just cant believe it. Its so sad.

They shared each others country ideals – they had a house, dogs, guns. They lived a life they loved in the country.

“They seemed happy, breeding their Clumber Spaniels for Princess Anne. Princess Anne had a Clumber Spaniel off her.

Last night, the PM’s dad, Stanley Johnson, paid tribute to Debbie.

He said: “Both I and my whole family are shocked, stunned and saddened by this tragic incident.

“We very much regret the passing of Mrs Zurick. She was a neighbour and she was much loved.

“She was honorary secretary of the Working Clumber Spaniel Society and was much loved for the work she did, in the society and in Exmoor and beyond.”

He would not confirm if the Johnson family had taken spaniels from the Zuricks.

Mr Zurick was rushed to a hospital in Devon for emergency treatment, but remains in a critical but stable condition.

Debbie was made Hon. Secretary at the Working Clumber Spaniel Society, of which John was previously field trial secretary.

Princess Anne is President. The group holds training events mock field trials and shooting days.

In July 2014 the Princess Royal was pictured with Debbie and John at a gundog event at Gatcombe Park.

A man was left fighting for his life after reports of a gunshot blast on Saturday afternoon

Police said a man found with serious injuries in the village of Winsford is now in police custody