‘Foolish incident that ended in tragedy’ says police officer after shooting expedition ends in death

Ian Catley.

Ian Catley. - Credit: Archant

A man has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a Cambridgeshire man following “a foolish incident that ended in tragedy”.

Philip Harper.

Philip Harper. - Credit: Archant

Ian Catley, 40, of Metcalfe Way, Melbourn, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court today to the manslaughter of Philip Harper, 46, of High Street, Meldreth.

Mr Harper suffered fatal gunshot wounds following an incident on farmland south of Melbourn, near Black Peak Farm, on June 29 this year.

On June 28, Mr Harper had bought what he believed to be a bullet proof vest from a surplus store.

On the afternoon of June 29, Catley and Mr Harper went shooting rabbits and pigeons on farmland south of Melbourn.


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Shortly before 6pm that evening, Catley presented himself at Melbourn Ambulance Station, on Whiting Way, with Mr Harper seriously injured in the back of his Landrover Discovery.

A Critical Care Paramedic attended to Mr Harper, who he located in the rear of the vehicle, however he died at the scene, as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest.

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Following his arrest, Catley failed to mention that, before arriving at the ambulance station, he had removed Mr Harper’s protective vest, which was later located in the rear of the Landrover.

Detective Sergeant Andrea Warren said: “This was a foolish incident that ended in tragedy.

“Catley’s actions after the incident, in not giving us the full details of the events that had occurred, prolonged the investigation unnecessarily, however I welcome his guilty plea today.

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

Ian Catley will return to court for sentencing on January 16, 2015.

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