Woman Pleads Guilty to Murder

Catherine Hodges pleaded guilty to the murder of her ex-partner today and been sentenced to 24 years in jail.

Catherine Hodges, 49, had broken up with John Loveday, 59, for more than a year before she decided to take the drastic action which led to his death.

Detectives were first made aware of the murder at around midday on Sunday 12 June 2011 when they were called by Hodges herself to Botanybay Farm in Shortthorn Road, Stratton Strawless.

Officers discovered Mr Loveday’s body in the living room and the cause of death was later determined to be from multiple gunshot wounds.

During the interview, Hodges, of Buxton Road, Horstead, admitted attending the farm with a loaded rifle and shooting Mr Loveday.

On arrival at the scene officers and medical experts had discovered his body slumped close to a chair.

Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry, from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, who led the investigation, said: “This was a very tragic incident which seems to have occurred when Hodges became aware that John appeared to be moving on with his life. Hodges made the decision to take this course of action and drove the five miles from her home to the farm with one intention in mind - to end his life.

"Hodges was a very controlling character. She had appeared not to care about John until she realised he may have met someone else at which time she decided to take extreme measures to stop him."

Despite the break-up Hodges had visited the farm on a daily basis to care for the variety of animals that she had previously rescued.

Mr Loveday's family have asked not to be contacted by the media but they have described him as being "well respected and well liked in the local community, a man who loved his rural life and farming and was not only a gentle man but also a gentleman."  

DCI Fry added: "Our thoughts remain with Mr Loveday's family at this difficult time. This has been an extremely challenging couple of months for them and I hope Hodge's decision to plead guilty has saved them from the further upset of having to go through the torment of a trial."

Hodges admitted murder when she appeared before Norwich Crown Court this morning.

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