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Man pleads guilty over gun death

A man who shot dead a friend who thought he was wearing a bullet-proof vest has admitted manslaughter.

Ian Catley, 40, of Metcalfe Way, Melbourn, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court yesterday to killing Philip Harper, 46, of High Street, Meldreth, Cambridgeshire Police said.

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

The previous day, Mr Harper had bought what he believed to be a bullet-proof vest from a surplus store.

Catley and Mr Harper went shooting rabbits and pigeons on farmland south of the village.

That evening, Catley took Mr Harper, who had suffered serious injuries, to a nearby ambulance station in the back of his Land Rover Discovery.

He died from a gunshot wound to the chest despite attempts to save his life, the force said.

Following his arrest, Catley failed to mention that, before arriving at the ambulance station, he had removed Mr Harper's protective vest.

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."

Catley was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on January 16.

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