United Kingdom

'Black widow', 42, was not involved in 'conspiracy' to murder millionaire British husband

Ganna Ziuzina, now called Julianna Moore had left Barry Pring by the roadside to return to the restaurant to pick up a glove she had left behind. A judge today ruled that she was not plotting his murder or ordered his killing

The Ukrainian ex-lap dancer wife of a millionaire Briton killed while trying to hail a cab during their first wedding anniversary celebrations was not the mastermind of any conspiracy to murder him, a coroner ruled today.

Ganna Ziuzina, now called Julianna Moore, had been blamed by Barry Pring's family after the wealthy 47-year-old IT consultant died in a Kiev hit and run by a VW Jetta with false number plates on February 16, 2008.

But in evidence earlier this week she denied organising his murder and instead claimed she would have been financially better off with him alive. 

And today a second inquest into his death sided with her.

Judge Paul Matthew, sitting as a senior coroner, reached a narrative conclusion - not one of unlawful killing - following a five-day inquest at Bristol Civil Justice Centre, recording the Devon-based businessman's cause of death as multiple injuries.

He said: 'There is not a single piece of direct evidence to show that there was any such conspiracy, or that if there was, Julianna Moore was involved', adding that Barry's family's allegations that she wanted him dead for his money were based on 'circumstantial' evidence.

He added: 'Extensive police inquiries in Ukraine unfortunately failed to identify either the vehicle or the driver. No charges have ever been brought in relation to the death. Apart from the driver of the car, no other person was involved in the death of Barry Pring. In particular, there was no conspiracy to kill him.'

The inquest heard how Mr Pring, who was originally from Devon, met Ms Moore on an internet dating website and they married in Ukraine in January 2007.

Mr Pring's family told the inquest how Ms Moore seemed 'cold' and 'not loving or caring' towards her husband.

His mother Irene and brother Shaughan began suspecting foul play following his death and later accused Ms Moore of organising for him to be murdered. They hired a private investigator in Ukraine, who claimed the authorities had not investigated Mr Pring's death properly.

An inquest held at Devon County Hall in January 2017 concluded that Mr Pring was unlawfully killed, but this was later quashed by the High Court, which ordered a fresh hearing to take place.

Judge Matthews, who presided over the second inquest, said: The Pring family put forward a number of allegations based on circumstantial evidence which they say, when taken together, collectively suggest that Julianna Moore was criminally involved in organising the death of her husband Barry Pring and was indeed guilty of his murder.'

Barry Pring, who met his wife on a dating website, had been attempting to flag down a taxi to return home when he was struck down by an unknown driver in Kiev in 2008. A second inquest will try to find the cause of death after an unlawful killing was quashed by his wife Ganna Ziuzina in 2017 (pictured together on their wedding day in 2007)

The judge said that allegations of Ms Moore being 'cold' towards her husband or of him being 'besotted and manipulated', if true, were not evidence that she had murdered him.

Mr Pring owned three properties in the London area and a flat in Kiev, but the judge described him as 'not that wealthy' as these were mortgaged, which Ms Moore knew.

Giving evidence to the inquest, Ms Moore said her life would have been 'much more comfortable financially' if Mr Pring was alive, and denied any involvement in his death.

Mr Pring's family raised suspicions at the choice of restaurant for the anniversary meal, next to a fast road, but the judge said it served traditional Ukrainian food which they enjoyed.

He added there was 'no evidence' that Ms Moore had put drugs in Mr Pring's drinks that evening to incapacitate him.

Police have been unable to establish that Ms Moore made a phone call shortly before her husband's death, the judge said.

Mr Pring's family also questioned why the couple would have attempted to flag down a car on a busy road, but Judge Matthews described how there was 'clear evidence of this practice' in Kiev at the time.

The carriageway where Mr Pring and Ms Moore were waiting was heading away from the capital, but there was an option for a car to turn around and drive in the other direction a short distance away.

Ganna Ziuzina – now known as Julianne Moore – denies being behind the hit-and-run killing of her British businessman husband

Judge Matthews said: 'The family say it is suspicious Julianna Moore left Barry Pring on the hard shoulder but that is explained by the glove, which was found by a waitress under their table.'

Mr Pring's family told the inquest how Ms Moore was 'cold and hard' and 'displayed no emotion' during phone calls informing them of his death.

The judge said: 'If she was so cold and hard, why did she repatriate Barry's body at her own expense as Barry's family wanted, rather than simply having him cremated there?'

He added that he believed Ms Moore was 'trying not to upset the family' during the phone calls.

Judge Matthews questioned the timing of Mr Pring's death, given he and his wife were due to go on holiday within a few weeks.

He added: 'If this was a murder, it was a curious, risky and inept way to carry it out.

'The driver could not have been sure of hitting Barry in a high speed collision, and if he hit him, that he would kill him.

'In my view, there are too many ducks to be lined up in a row in order for this to be a sensible means of carrying out a plot to murder.

'I am not persuaded that there ever was a conspiracy to murder Barry Pring, much less that Julianna Moore was part of it.'

Mr Pring's cause of death was recorded as multiple injuries.

Barry's death was initially treated as a road accident but re-classified as a murder investigation after the family first raised concerns in 2011. 

An inquest ruled in January 2017 that he had been unlawfully killed after being tricked into standing on the wrong side of the road - but Miss Moore had that inquest verdict quashed in March 2017, sparking the second inquest in Bristol which started on Monday.

Ms Moore, now 42, told the inquest: 'My life would be much better with Barry than without him. I don't know why anyone would suggest I would like to kill him to get some money.

'My life and financial means would be much more comfortable having Barry than not. If I wanted money, would it not just be easier to divorce and get 50 per cent of assets? It does not make sense.'

Ms Moore, who had previously been dubbed the 'Black Widow', said media reports that her husband, from Cullompton, Devon, was a millionaire did not take into account his mortgages.

She said: 'I knew about the large mortgages he had. Whatever media was blowing that there was millions or whatever or inheritance, it's not true.' 

She also denied accusations she had 'hypnotised' Mr Pring or that he was 'besotted' with her and said she found the allegations 'hurtful'.

'Barry was a grown-up man,' she said. 'He was very strong willed. He had his own ideas about life. He wasn't a man that could easily fall under the spell. He was a very strong willed person.'    

It comes after Barry's family told the inquest that Ms Moore had been 'stone cold' when she delivered the heartbreaking news about his death before branding her 'callous with no emotions'. 

Ms Moore had left Barry by the roadside to return to a restaurant to pick up a glove she had left behind. 

Barry was then run over by a VW Jetta on the hard shoulder of a four-lane motorway after the meal with his wife to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. 

When she returned to the scene Barry was deada and the car, which had earlier been stolen, never stopped. The driver has never been traced. 

The couple met online after the ex-lap dancer posted and advert and they married in 2007.   

Mr Pring's mother Irene told the inquest in Bristol yesterday that her daughter in law was 'very cold' and learned of her son's death from her younger son Shaughan, who had been contacted by phone from the Ukraine by Ms Moore. 

She then became suspicious about the incident and hired an private investigator, adding when they were together: 'She was not loving or caring towards him at all'. 

Shaughan Pring said: 'It was just a gut feeling that something did not fit comfortably. It was the way I was informed of the death, it was cold, callous with no emotions. It was stone cold'.   

Ganna Ziuzina, who has changed her name to Julianna  Moore, pictured posing in a corset and with what appears to be a pistol, always denied any involvement with her late husband's death

The couple had only been married a year (pictured together in 2007) when Barry was killed in a hit and run

The family began to have suspicions about Mr Pring's death almost as soon as they were told. 'We became suspicious about what happened the night Barry died and we hired a private investigator and solicitor in the Ukraine to find out what happened,' Mrs Pring said at the inquest.

'It would appear the initial accident was not investigated as thoroughly as it should be and the police did not appear to be suspicious about the circumstances of what happened.

'Our investigation told us the car that was in collision with Barry was on false plates and had been stolen from a car park near to the apartment which was rented for Anna by Barry before they got married.'

The couple met online after the Ukrainian placed an online advert.

'I did not know then how they had met but I assumed he must have met her on his travels,' Mrs Pring said.

'Barry told us Anna's parents were poor and she was embarrassed to take Barry home to meet them.

'Her English was perfect, and Barry relied on her totally when he was in the Ukraine as he could not speak the language.

'I now know that Barry had started renting a flat for Anna. What he did not tell us was that he had met Anna on the internet after she had placed an advert.'

Mrs Pring said she and her late husband Basil had learned of her son's intention to marry Ms Moore just a few days before the ceremony in Ukraine in January 2007.

She described meeting Ms Moore for the first time in the summer of 2007 during a visit to Devon.

'I was quite surprised to see how cold she was towards Barry. You would have thought they had been married for years and not newlyweds. She was not loving or caring towards him at all,' she said.

'You would never have guessed they had been apart for months. There did not seem to be a spark between Anna or Barry and was very one-sided.'

The Prings initially suspected his brother had been murdered for his assets but the High Court hearing in 2019 brought by Miss Moore resulted in the family releasing a statement that she had not murdered him.

Irene and Shaughan Pring, the mother and brother of Barry Pring, who gave evidence at his second inquest after it opened on Monday. They are pictured together after the first inquest in 2017

Mrs Pring said when she saw the couple again at Christmas, Ms Moore was 'very cold' towards her son. 

His family previously said they have fought for 'justice' for more than a decade after long suspecting foul play. But they formally withdrew the murder allegations after a High Court hearing in 2019.

The latest inquest opened on Monday in Bristol and heard from members of Barry's family about the nature of his marriage.

Brother Shaughan Pring told the coroner he first had suspicions after receiving a phone call from Miss Moore informing him about his brother's death.

He said: 'My initial concern was for Miss Moore but afterwards I was sat at my desk shaking my head dealing with shock at what I had just heard.

'It was just a gut feeling that something did not fit comfortably. It was the way I was informed of the death, it was cold, callous with no emotions. It was stone cold.

'Thinking about Barry, he was extremely careful and travelled extensively. He was not a big drinker and over the dozens of times I had been out I had never seen him not in control of himself.

'I had a gut feeling that things weren't right. I spoke to a friend and lawyer Peter Clifford who said it was possible that my brother had been murdered for his assets.'

The coroner heard that Shaughan had changed the locks to his brother's London flat to protect his assets after hearing of his death and the family hired a private investigator to examine the circumstances.

Shaughan also recovered his brother's laptop and briefcase from the flat to 'pour over emails' between the couple.

He said that the family had all met Miss Moore when she come over the previous Christmas and she seemed 'nice and polite.'

He added: 'We were aware he was going to visit Miss Moore in February for their wedding anniversary and I believe a birthday, it was going to be a double celebration.

'He said it would be a short trip but didn't specify how long for. I first heard when Miss Moore called me on February 17 and she told me, 'I've got some bad news, you better prepare yourself.' My first thought was that Barry had done something stupid.

'She went on to explain they were waiting for a taxi when he was hit and killed. She did say they had gone to a restaurant but did not say where and said they were a little drunk.

'My initial concern was for Miss Moore and I was in total shock and screamed at the top of my voice.

'In the first call she said she stood right next to Barry and I just visualised him stepping off the pavement in the city and something hit him.

'In the second conversation she said she had forgotten her glove and walked back to the restaurant to collect her gloves and then heard a loud thud or bang.'

Shaughan initially suspected his brother had been murdered for his assets but the High Court hearing in 2019 brought by Miss Moore resulted in the family releasing a statement that she had not murdered him.

The inquest heard those findings were not relevant to the latest inquest, which would fully examine the circumstances around Barry's death.

Barry, who is understood owned three properties in London and a flat in Kiev was worth around £1.5m.

The inquest, which is scheduled to last five days, continues.

Ms Moore has always denied any involvement in her husband's death.

At a 2017 inquest in Exeter she was accused by his family of being behind the hit and run.

She took legal action and a verdict that her husband was unlawfully killed was quashed at the High Court.

Eight weeks after the inquest verdict, Moore claimed costs and received £40,000 from the coroner's office.

Her husband's family were also ordered to pay her £25,000 .

The Pring family then brought a High Court action in a bid to prove she played a part in the businessman's death and stop her inheriting his fortune.

However they eventually withdrew their claims in 2019 and were believed to have reached a settlement with Moore.  

Had they been able to prove she was involved in his death they planned to use a 'forfeiture rule' that stops killers from getting victims' cash. Pring died without leaving a will. 

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