During the initial lockdown, a gun dealer shot and killed his wife for leaving tissues around the house.
Despite a long history of mental illness, a gun dealer who shot dead his lawyer wife at their listed farmhouse was given a guns license, a court heard yesterday.
Psychotic A court heard that Peter Hartshorne-Jones, 51, was afraid of contracting coronavirus and objected to his wife Silke, 41, leaving tissues around their £600,000 home. He even locked himself in a bedroom to prevent acquiring it, and he mistookly believed he was infected at one point. He, on the other hand, lied on his gun license application and renewal documents, simply writing “No” when asked if he was mentally ill.
Silke, a mother of two, was shot twice with a 12-bore shotgun at their 17th century farm in Barham, Suffolk, during the first lockdown in May 2020.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what happened to me,” her spouse said to authorities.
According to a doctor, Hartshorne-Jones was experiencing psychotic symptoms at the time. He also specialized in selling vintage shotguns for game hunting. On the grounds of diminished culpability, he admitted to manslaughter but denied murder. The prosecution agreed to accept his pleas.
Judge Martyn Levett of Ipswich Crown Court asked him why he had a guns license the other day.
According to medical records, he was diagnosed with depression in 1996 and prescribed antidepressants in 2009. On the application and renewal applications for firearms licenses, it is asked if the applicant has ever been treated for “any kind of mental or nerve disease.”
“I’ll need to know why [he wrote ‘No’]and whether any checks have been performed, and whether those checks were necessary,” Judge Levett added. It’s an issue of justice to family members, and it’s in the public interest for me to have this information.”
Hartshorne-Jones had made several calls to health professionals from March 16 to April 27 last year, resulting in 29 call-outs to his residence, according to testimony given at a previous hearing.
None of the three psychiatrists who evaluated him later, according to Judge Levett, seemed to question, “Why did you shoot your wife?”
“The only thing I can find is that he was influenced by his claim that she placed tissues around the home when he was laboring under the impression that he was suffering from coronavirus,” he added.
The sentencing hearing was postponed when Hartshorne-Jones failed to appear from a mental health facility where he was being held.