Man, 51, arrested on suspicion of murder after woman in her 40s was shot dead inside Suffolk house

Police quiz gun-dealer husband, 51, over murder of solicitor wife in her early 40s after she was shot dead at their £610,000 17th Century farmhouse

Police are quizzing a gun-dealer over the murder of his solicitor wife after she was found shot at their 17th century farmhouse.   

Silke Hartshorne-Jones, who was in her early forties, was found with gunshot wounds at the family‘s £610,000 Grade II-listed Chestnut Farm in Barham near Ipswich in the early hours of Sunday. 

Her husband Peter-Hartshorne Jones, 51, was arrested on suspicion of her murder and is being questioned by detectives in nearby Bury St Edmunds, sources confirmed today. He is father to her twin eight-year-old boys.   

She worked as a corporate solicitor in London, but had been working from home since the start of lockdown, while her husband owned his own shotgun business.    

Police were scrambled to the property in Suffolk just after 4.45am on Sunday where Mrs Hartshorne-Jones was found in a critical condition. She was rushed to Ipswich Hospital but pronounced dead a short time later. 

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 London-based recruitment company providing staff for the catering industry, which he set up in 1999. 

A neighbour said he sells guns from the house, which he keeps in a secure cupboard. 

The website for the gun business states that Mr Hartshorne-Jones offers ‘a unique worldwide service specialising in the sale and locating of the finest Sporting English and Scottish shotguns, sidelocks, boxlocks and hammer guns‘

It adds that the firm deals in guns made by ‘leading makers including James Purdey & Sons, Boss & Co, Holland & Holland, James Woodward & Sons, Grant, Lang, Lancaster, William Evans, Charles Boswell and John Dickson & Son.‘

The website says: ‘We have a particular interest in the sourcing and sale of fine small bore English game guns and very fine live pigeon guns, examples of which we regularly offer from their best makers, such as Charles Boswell, W & C Scott and others.

‘We also offer a free gun valuation service and whether buying or selling your shotgun we can assist.‘

It goes on: ‘From time to time we also offer a varied selection of military related antiques, militaria, memorabilia and edged weapons. Fully guided, wild bird shooting breaks and days can also be arranged.‘

Today forensic investigators were seen entering the luxury farmhouse with a police cordon still in place.  

Neighbours said that Mrs Hartshorne-Jones 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 lock down started.

One villager described Mrs Hartshorne-Jones, who was German, as ‘friendly‘ and ‘a devoted mother‘ to her sons.

The local, 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.

‘She and her husband used to argue quite a bit. You would quite often hear them arguing.

‘She was quite a stern and forthright person – a typical German really. But she spoke excellent English with only a bit of an accent.

‘He was a very English character who liked to wear a flat cap, and a Barbour jacket, and he had a collection of multi-coloured corduroy trousers.

‘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.‘

The couple bought the property for £460,000 when they moved in 2015, but it is now worth around £610,000.  

Mr Terry who works as a surveyor 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 Mr and Mrs Hartshorne-Jones 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 Linked In profile.

Her profile described her job as being in charge of the company‘s ‘legal and compliance function‘ across Europe.

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.‘

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to South CID, quoting crime reference: 37/24434/20 

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