Melbourn man jailed for shooting close friend on farmland

Ian Catley.

Ian Catley. - Credit: Archant

A Melbourn man has been jailed today for seven years after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Philip Harper.

Philip Harper. - Credit: Archant

Ian Catley, of Metcalfe Way, received his sentencing at Southwark Crown Court for the killing of his close friend, 46-year-old Philip Harper, of High Street in Meldreth.

Mr Harper suffered fatal gunshot wounds to the chest while shooting rabbits and pigeons near Black Peak Farm, south of Melbourn, on June 29 of last year.

In a statement to police, the 40-year-old said he shot at his friend only in response to his request to test a protective vest he had believed to be bullet proof – which he had bought from a surplus store the day before.

Shortly before 6pm on the evening of the killing, Catley arrived at Melbourn Ambulance Station with Mr Harper seriously injured in the back of his Landrover Discovery.

Paramedics treated Mr Harper, however he died at the scene as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Catley was arrested on the same day on suspicion of murder and charged the day after.

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Det Insp Ian Simmons said: “This is a particularly sad case, where a foolish incident ended in tragedy.

“These second-hand protective vests should not be relied on whatsoever to protect you from gunshot and I’m urging people to take this as a warning.

“Our deepest sympathies are with Mr Harper’s family and friends at this time.”