Stratton Strawless murder: Catherine Hodges jailed for 24 years

Catherine Hodges Catherine Hodges called police after shooting dead John Loveday

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A woman who shot her ex-partner after hearing he might have met another woman has been jailed for at least 24 years.

Catherine Hodges, 49, of Buxton Road, Horstead, Norfolk, admitted murdering John Loveday at his farm at Stratton Strawless, near Norwich, on 12 June.

Police found 59-year-old Mr Loveday's body slumped close to a chair in the living room at Botanybay Farm.

Norwich Crown Court heard how Hodges had driven five miles from her home and shot him several times with a rifle.

She was sentenced to life and told she would spend a minimum of 24 years in prison.

Detectives were first made aware of the murder on 12 June when they were called by Hodges herself.

During interview she admitted going to the farm, which Mr Loveday ran as an animal shelter, with a loaded rifle and shooting Mr Loveday.

'Controlling character'

Det Ch Insp Jes Fry, from the joint Norfolk and Suffolk major investigation team, who led the investigation, said after the hearing: "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.

John Loveday John Loveday was described by family as "a gentleman"

"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."

Mr Loveday's family 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".

Det Ch Insp 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 Hodges' decision to plead guilty has saved them from the further upset of having to go through the torment of a trial."

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