Victim's brother 'sickened' by killer's diminished responsibility plea
- Credit: Archant
The brother of a woman shot dead by her husband has called her killer's diminished responsibility plea a 'mockery of the real victims'.
Jens Lutschewitz told Ipswich Crown Court he was nauseated by Peter Hartshorne-Jones' admission of manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
On the opening day of a sentencing hearing due to continue on Thursday, the court heard how gun dealer Hartshorne-Jones shot his solicitor wife, Silke, while believing he was infected with Covid-19 and having contacted care providers 26 times within 42 days.
The 52-year-old shot his 42-year-old wife twice at close range with a double-barrelled shotgun at their home, in Barham, on May 3 last year.
Peter Gair, prosecuting, said Mrs Hartshorne-Jones told a neighbour in the days before her death that her husband was "not good at all" and that she was finding it difficult.
Hartshorne-Jones had made contact with various care providers between March 16 and April 27, Mr Gair said, but that no cause for his symptoms was found.
Hartshorne-Jones pleaded guilty to manslaughter at an earlier hearing, when it was said he was found to have been “suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning”.
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After the shooting, he made a 999 call to police at 4.44am and remained on the phone while armed officers were dispatched to the address.
His wife, who sustained wounds to her left upper arm and chest and was found on her bedroom floor, went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead in hospital at 6.42am.
Hartshorne-Jones, who ran a recruitment business and traded in shotguns, obtained a shotgun certificate in 2000. It was renewed in 2015 and he also obtained a firearms dealer registration in 2010, the court heard.
Mr Gair said Hartshorne-Jones had answered 'no' to questions on applications in 2000 and 2015 about whether he had ever received treatment for a mental health condition.
Mr Gair said episodes of depression had since been found recorded on medical notes prior to the renewal in 2015.
Police seized eight shotguns, two rifles, two air rifles and nine stocks and barrels from the home.
Mrs Hartshorne-Jones, a German national, qualified as a lawyer before moving to London in 2007 and marrying Hartshorne-Jones in 2010.
Her brother, Mr Lutschewitz, told the court it “nauseates” him that Hartshorne-Jones had pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.
“It’s incomprehensible and a real mockery of the real victims in the case,” he said.