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Sentencing of Barham farmhouse shooter Peter Hartshorne-Jones, who shot his wife dead while their twin sons were in the house, adjourned



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The sentencing of a registered gun dealer who shot his wife and left her to die while their eight-year-old twin sons were in their Suffolk farmhouse has been adjourned.

Peter Hartshorne-Jones, 52, denied the murder of his 42-year-old wife Silke at an earlier hearing, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

Judge Martyn Levett told Ipswich Crown Court today he needed more time to prepare his sentencing remarks, and adjourned the hearing until later this week.

Police officers at the scene outside a farmhouse in Barham in Suffolk, where Silke Hartshorne-Jones was found with gunshot wounds. (Sam Russell/ PA)
Police officers at the scene outside a farmhouse in Barham in Suffolk, where Silke Hartshorne-Jones was found with gunshot wounds. (Sam Russell/ PA)

Last week the court was told that the shooting came after Hartshorne-Jones' mental health deteriorated during coronavirus lockdown.

The court was told he had become upset about his wife 'dropping tissues around the house'.

A psychiatrist statement found he had been suffering from an 'abnormality of mental function' due to hypochondriac disorder with psychotic symptoms.

The hearing also heard he had previously locked himself in a bedroom to avoid catching the virus and that he told a neighbour that he had contracted Covid-19 and 'no one was paying attention' to him.

Mrs Hartshorne-Jones, who grew up in Heidelberg in Germany and moved to London in 2007, was shot in the chest and arm at the couple's home just outside Ipswich in Barham.

After the shooting Hartshorne-Jones dialed 999, the court was told, and asked for the police, not the ambulance service, and told call operators: 'I think she's dying, actually'.

He remained on the phone while armed officers were sent to the house and he was arrested on the driveway.

The court was told how Hartshorne-Jones had been diagnosed with depression in 1996 and was prescribed antidepressants in 2009.

He was first granted a shotgun certificate in 2000 by Hertfordshire Police and was granted a firearms dealer certificate in 2010, said prosecutor Peter Gair.

The sentencing hearing will continue on Thursday.

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