Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Brother of a woman who was shot by her husband describes him as “highly manipulative”

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The brother of a woman who was shot by her husband during the first coronavirus lockdown told a court that his brother-in-law was “highly manipulative”.

Silke Hartshorne-Jones, a 42-year-old lawyer, was shot dead at close range with a double-barreled shotgun on May 3 last year at her Suffolk home by her husband, 52-year-old Peter.

Hartshorne-Jones, an arms dealer, called the police at 4:44 a.m. and his wife was pronounced dead at the hospital at 6:42 a.m.

At an earlier hearing, he admitted the manslaughter on account of diminished responsibility which, as Dr. Dirk Luschewitz, Mrs. Hartshorne-Jones’ brother, is apparently not enough.

Dr. Luschewitz told Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday that it was “hit” [the family] like a clap of thunder when we heard that Peter would be convicted of manslaughter rather than murder ”.

He said he had known the defendant for nearly 12 years and described him as an “intelligent but also highly manipulative man” who, in his opinion, was “trying to fool us all”.

Dr. Luschewitz described the killing as an “unspeakable betrayal” and added that his father had previously “been proud of his son-in-law and loved him almost like his own son”.

Ms. Hartshorne-Jones, a German national, moved to London in 2007 and married her husband in 2010.

Her father Hartmut Luschewitz said in a statement read by a police officer: “My daughter, only 42 years old and in the prime of her life, was killed in cold blood by a cowardly murderer.”

He said the “saddest and darkest hour in my life and that of my sons” was visiting Ipswich Hospital, where his daughter was dead.

“I feel a deep, almost physical pain that I’ve never felt before,” he added.

Prosecutor Peter Gair previously told the court that Hartshorne-Jones, who was recently revealed to have contracted Covid-19 in the weeks leading up to the attack, had contacted various health care providers – including the emergency services, A&E departments and private GPs – 26 between March 16 and April 27.

However, no cause for his symptoms has been found, the prosecutor added.

Ms. Hartshorne-Jones told a neighbor days before her death that her husband “was not doing well at all and she was finding it difficult,” the court heard.

Lisa Wootton, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, said she believed the defendant was suffering from “a major depressive episode with psychotic symptoms” at the time of the murder.

She said Hartshorne-Jones had a history of mental health problems and was prescribed antidepressants back in 1996.

“He has had a lot of contact with his family doctor and specialists about his physical health throughout his life,” she told the court, adding that he admitted in 1997 that he had “used cocaine for a year.”

The sentencing, which is on the second day, continues.

Additional reporting by PA

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