Melbourn Man Jailed For Friends Murder

A man who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a Meldreth man has been jailed for seven years.

Ian Catley (pictured), 40, of Metcalfe Way, Melbourn, appeared at Southwark Crown Court today (Friday) to receive his sentence for the manslaughter of his close friend, 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 last 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 the killing, Catley and Mr Harper went shooting rabbits and pigeons on farmland south of Melbourn.
Shortly before 6pm that evening, Catley arrived at Melbourn Ambulance Station, in Whiting Way, with Mr Harper seriously injured in the back of his Landrover Discovery. Paramedics were told by Catley that Mr Harper had been shot.

A paramedic treated Mr Harper, however he died at the scene as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Catley was arrested on the same day on suspicion of murder and charged the day after. In a statement to police, Catley said he shot at his friend only in response to his request to test the protective vest.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Southwark Crown Court on November 13.

Detective Inspector Ian Simmons said:

"This is a particularly sad case, where a foolish incident ended in tragedy.  These second-hand protective vests should not be relied on whatsoever to protect you from gunshot and I'm urging people to take this as a warning. Our deepest sympathies are with Mr Harper's family and friends at this time."