Hospital order on gun dealer who shot his wife is extended again

A police cordon in place at the scene of a shooting in Barham where Silke Hartshorne-Jones (inset) w

A police cordon in place at the scene of a shooting in Barham where Silke Hartshorne-Jones (inset) was shot Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A hospital order on a gun dealer who shot and killed his solicitor wife at their Suffolk farmhouse has been extended for another month.

Peter Hartshorne-Jones, 52, was charged with murder after his wife was found shot inside their family home at The Green, Barham, on the morning of Sunday, May 3 last year. 

Hartshorne-Jones denied murdering his 41-year-old wife Silke but admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility at a hearing in September 2020.

Hartshorne-Jones is said to have had a recurrent depressive disorder and had psychotic symptoms at the time of the shooting. 

Judge Martyn Levett imposed a Section 38 interim hospital order for 12 weeks in April this year.

He later extended the order until September 10, to allow the defendant to continue receiving treatment. 

At a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court today, the judge extended it further to Thursday, October 7.

It will be reviewed at another court hearing on Wednesday, October 6.

Hartshorne-Jones was due to be sentenced at the end of August, but the hearing was adjourned due to his absence. It is now expected to take place in mid-October.

Police were called to the scene by Hartshorne-Jones at 4.45am on the day of the incident.

Mrs Hartshorne-Jones was found on the floor upstairs, with two gunshot wounds.

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She was taken to Ipswich Hospital but died at 6.42am. 

A post-mortem examination confirmed her death was the result of two gunshot wounds. 

Hartshorne-Jones reportedly "locked himself away" to avoid catching Covid-19 in the lead-up to the killing, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Judge Levett has said assessing culpability in the case posed a "complex challenge".

That is partly because Hartshorne-Jones made no comment in police interview and never faced trial, although he was heard to say: "What have I done?" following the shooting.

Judge Levett said he would conduct careful scrutiny of whatever had since been said by Hartshorne-Jones to a psychiatrist.

The court previously heard that Hartshorne-Jones had been diagnosed with depression in 1996.

He was also prescribed an antidepressant following a depressive episode with psychotic symptoms in 2009.

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