Wife killer Peter Hartshorne-Jones has minimum jail term extended

A police cordon in place at the scene of a shooting in Barham where Silke Hartshorne-Jones (inset) w

Peter Hartshorne-Jones will serve 32 months longer before his case is considered - Credit: Archant

A mentally ill gun dealer who shot and killed his solicitor wife has been told he will have to serve an extra 32 months of his sentence before he can be considered for release by the parole board.

Last month Peter Hartshorne-Jones was given a life sentence for the manslaughter of his 42-year-old wife Silke at their 17th century farmhouse at Barham, near Ipswich.

He was told he would have to serve a minimum of eight years before any consideration could be given to his early release on parole.

Peter Hartshorne-Jones has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife at their home in Barham. 

Peter Hartshorne-Jones has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife at their home in Barham. - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

However, today (Tuesday November 9) Judge Martyn Levett said he had made an error in calculating the minimum term to be served by Hartshorne-Jones and amended the figure to ten years and eight months.

Judge Levett stressed that he wasn’t varying any part of his reasons nor the type of sentence he had decided to impose and was merely correcting a mathematical error.

Hartshorne-Jones, who is being treated at a medium secure psychiatric unit in Norwich, was due to have attended the hearing at Ipswich Crown Court by a video link but refused to attend because he hadn’t been informed in writing about it.

Amending the sentence, Judge Levett said there was no guarantee that Hartshorne-Jones would be released when that ten year and eight month minimum term had expired or indeed at any time thereafter. 

Most Read

“Given the nature of this offence, the prospects of release for a very long time to come must be slim,” added the judge.

He said Hartshorne-Jones had only partially responded to treatment since the killing and presented a danger to the public.

He directed that Hartshorne-Jones should be detained in a psychiatric clinic until his treatment is completed before being moved to jail, as part of a “hybrid” sentence.

Sentencing 52-year-old Hartshorne-Jones last month Judge Levett said he had “cruelly” killed his wife while she was in bed in her pyjamas and posed “absolutely no threat to him whatsoever.”

He said Hartshorne-Jones had made a deliberate journey from one end of the house to the other with a loaded gun and had shot his wife  at point-blank range after taking off the safety catch.

He had then shot her a second time “ just to make sure she was dead.”

Judge Levett said Hartshorne-Jones had answered no comment in police interviews about what happened on the night in question and had also declined to give an explanation for the killing in court.

He said that one of the couple’s sons had gone into his mother’s room from his adjoining bedroom after hearing a “clattering” noise and found her on the floor.

He’d checked to see if she was breathing and believing she’d been attacked by an intruder he had gone to fetch Hartshorne-Jones, who was having his breakfast, and told him to call an ambulance.

Mrs Hartshorne-Jones, 42, was taken to Ipswich Hospital in May last year after being shot twice in the chest but died from her injuries.

Hartshorne -Jones admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility.

Forensic psychiatrists agreed he had been suffering from an 'abnormality of mental function' due to a hypochondriac disorder with psychotic symptoms which had worsened during the lockdown.