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Catering equipment recruiter’s sentencing imminent for killing wife

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Peter Hartshorne-Jones is awaiting sentencing for fatally shooting his wife.

Senior catering equipment industry recruiter Peter Hartshorne-Jones will imminently be sentenced for fatally shooting his wife Silke on 3 May last year.

The case’s sentencing hearing is due to conclude at Ipswich Crown Court today.

Mr Hartshorne-Jones was initially charged with murder after he shot his wife dead at their property in Suffolk.

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However, at an earlier hearing he denied murder, and the charge was dropped after prosecutors accepted his plea of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

This week the court has heard that his mental state deteriorated during the first coronavirus lockdown, and that he contacted health professionals 26 times, convinced he had contracted Covid.

Mr Hartshorne-Jones had also held a shotgun licence and a certificate to sell firearms, despite suffering from depression for many years.

Prosecutor Peter Gair said that Ms Hartshorne-Jones told a neighbour days before she died that her husband “was not good at all and she was finding it difficult”. The court was then told he became upset with her for dropping tissues in the house.

Officers from Suffolk Police were called to the Hartshorne-Jones home shortly before 4.45am on Sunday 3 May 2020 after receiving reports a woman had been shot.

On arrival at the premises, they discovered Ms Hartshorne-Jones inside with serious injuries. She was transported to Ipswich Hospital via ambulance in a critical condition, where she died a short time later.

A postmortem examination confirmed her death was the result of the two gunshot wounds.

At Ipswich Crown Court in April, Judge Martyn Levett imposed an interim hospital order on Mr Hartshorne-Jones under section of 38 Mental Health Act.

Mr Hartshorne-Jones was a director of Hartshorne Associates, which was set up in 1999 to specialise solely in the catering equipment and foodservice sector.

Traditionally, it operated on a search and selection and headhunting basis, but expanded into agency and contingency recruitment.

It worked on an assignment basis with manufacturers, distributors and design firms, and Hartshorne-Jones is understood to be well-known to many in the industry. He is listed on Companies House as the sole director of the business.

Tags : crimeHartshorne Associatesmurderrecruitment
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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