A 51-year-old man has been arrested after a solicitor was gunned down at her farmhouse yesterday.
The victim, named locally as corporate solicitor Silke Hartshorne-Jones, who was in her early 40s, was shot in the early hours at her 17th century home where she lived with her husband Peter Hartshorne-Jones, 51, and her twin sons, eight.
Police said they were called at around 4.45am to the Grade Two listed Chestnut Farm in Barham near Ipswich, Suffolk. The victim was found in a critical condition with serious injuries in the detached house.
She was taken by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital, but was pronounced dead a short time later. Officers confirmed that a 51-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently being questioned at the Police investigation Centre in Bury St Edmunds.
Mr Hartshorne-Jones runs his own business called Hartshorne Fine English Shotguns selling what his website describes as ‘the finest sporting English and Scottish shotguns’.
He also has a recruitment company providing staff for the catering industry.
One villager described German Mrs Hartshorne-Jones as ‘friendly’ and ‘a devoted mother’ to her sons Henry and Harry
The local resident who asked not to be named, added: ‘What has happened is just awful beyond words. It is the last thing you expect in a peaceful village like this.’
Neighbour Kevin Terry, 53, said: ‘We did not hear anything at all last night, but we woke up to all the police activity.
‘The police came round to ask if we had hear anything, but we were unable to help.’
He described Mr Hartshorne-Jones as a ‘very English character’ who often wore a flat cap and a Barbour jacket and had a collection of multi-coloured corduroy trousers.
Mr Terry said his wife came across as a ‘quite a stern and forthright person’ who spoke ‘excellent English with only a bit of an accent’.
The surveyor added: ‘When they moved in a couple of weeks after we bought our house, one of the first things he asked me was, “Do you shoot?” I don’t so that was the end of the conversation.
‘He worked from home and always boasted that he had three different companies including his gun company and recruitment business. I know he sold guns from the house and he had a secure gun cupboard.
‘I used to see Silke every Sunday when she would walk up to the village green. She would always wave and say hello.’
Mr Terry said he had seen an ambulance arrive at Chestnut Farm at 2.15am soon after lockdown started.
He added: ‘There was an ambulance at the house twice more over the next few days. On each occasion the paramedics were there quite a long time.
‘We didn’t see Peter after that so the assumption was that he was ill or something. We did not see him outside at all during lockdown. She was doing all the shopping and gardening.’
Land Registry records reveal that the couple bought their home including a one acre paddock for £460,000 in October 2015.
Mrs Hartshorne-Jones worked as a lawyer for technology company K2 Partnering Solutions according to her LinkedIn profile.
Neighbours said she would leave the house at around 5.30am every morning to commute to work and would return in the early evening, but had been at home since lockdown started.
A Suffolk Police statement said: ‘Police were called shortly before 4.45am today, Sunday 3 May, to reports a woman had been shot within a property.
‘On arrival at the premises, officers discovered a woman, aged in her 40s, inside who had suffered serious injuries.
‘She was transported to Ipswich Hospital via ambulance in a critical condition, where she sadly died a short time later.
‘A 51-year-old man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder and was taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
‘A police cordon is in place at the property while an investigation is carried out.’