Let me talk to him - I can end this peacefully, says neighbour of man found dead at Sutton St James siege

A neighbour told today how he pleaded with police to negotiate with a man who was found dead after a 12-hour armed siege.

Barry Horspool was found dead in his house at Sutton St James, near Wisbech, on Tuesday night.

He is believed to have turned his gun on himself, after armed police surrounded the property in Chapelgate.

His death will now be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Neighbour Victor Leuty said: 'I told police that he would probably talk to someone he knew rather than a stranger, but they didn't want to know.

'I was prepared to go inside the house if necessary. I would have tried anything. I was not worried for my own safety; he was not that sort of a bloke. With the sort of gun he had, you had to be up close to do any damage. I offered to help three or four times.

'He was a neighbour and a friend and I did not want anything bad to happen to him.

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'I don't know what was going through his mind. I don't think the police went to his house to check on his shotgun certificate, because he did not have one.'

Mr Leuty says Mr Horspool was acting out of character on the day of the siege.

'I did not think it would end like this,' he said. He was strong minded, but something must have happened for him to act like this.

'I have lost a friend and a neighbour it was a tragedy for everyone concerned.'

Mr Leuty told how he and Mr Horspool used to go shooting together, until nine or 10 years ago.

'He had a couple of shotguns, but when his licence came up for renewal he sold them, he had not been out shooting for eight or nine years.'

But Mr Leuty, a part time butcher, confirmed that Mr Horspool had kept a .410 shotgun at his home, without a licence.

'That is the smallest shotgun you can buy as a rat gun,' explained Victor. 'A kid of seven could shoot it, he'd had it for years.'

Mr Leuty said he learned about the siege when he arrived back at Sutton St James on Tuesday afternoon.

'The police asked me to draw a map of the house, and asked if they could get into Barry's loft from my house.

'I have not been allowed to move my truck from outside my house, and I have only been allowed to go to my property to sort out the dogs.

'Barry was not a bad man; he was quiet and kept himself to himself. He was a good neighbour; we had no problems with him at all.'

Mr Horspool was made redundant from his job on a local farm around 10 years ago.

'He lived at number 100 with his wife and he used his mobility scooter to get around, and he needed oxygen if he walked any distance,' said Mr Leuty.

'He was fine the other day when I saw him. I think he was in pain with his back and he had some problem with his lungs.'

Mr Leuty said his daughter Zoe had been staying with him and was asleep on the settee when the siege began, and she had to leave the property with children Tyler, 7, and Dylan, aged one.

Mr Leuty said: 'The police told her to get away from the window, and then told her to get clothes together and get ready to leave. As soon as she saw the police and dogs outside, it hit her just what was going on.'

He remembers Mr Horspool being one of the fittest men in the village before his illness.

'He used to cycle to work, six miles a day, he did not have a car,' he said.

'He was a good neighbour. If we went on holiday he would look after the dogs and the house, nothing was too much trouble.'

A spokesman for Lincolnshire Police said they were unable to confirm any operational details because it was still subject to investigation.

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