'Bullet-proof' vest test shooting killer jailed

Ian Catley and Philip Harper Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption Ian Catley (left) took Philip Harper to an ambulance station after the shooting

A man who accidentally shot his friend dead while testing if his bullet-proof vest worked has been jailed.

Philip Harper, 46, of High Street, Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, died from a gunshot wound to the chest on 29 June.

He had been hunting on farmland near Melbourn with his friend Ian Catley when he was shot.

Catley, 40, of Metcalfe Way, Melbourn, told police Mr Harper had asked him to test the vest. He admitted manslaughter and was jailed for seven years.

Mr Harper had bought what he believed to be a bullet-proof vest from a surplus store the day before, Cambridgeshire Police said.

'Catastrophic injuries'

In a statement to detectives, Catley said he had shot at his friend in response to his request to test the vest.

Mr Harper suffered fatal gunshot wounds to the chest and although Catley drove him to Melbourn ambulance station, paramedics were unable to save him.

Catley pleaded guilty to manslaughter on 13 November.

Sentencing him to seven years in jail at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC told Catley: "You shot Mr Harper at a distance of less than 20 feet, causing him catastrophic injuries and immediate death.

"You then, straight away, took him to hospital but tragically nothing could be done to save his life."

Det Insp 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."

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