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  1. ITV Report

Cambridgeshire man jailed for shooting friend who wanted to test new bullet-proof vest

Ian Catley has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Photo: Cambridgeshire Police

From journalists and cameramen to politicians and security staff, we're all used to seeing people in body armour on our TV's and increasingly on our streets.

A bullet-proof vest should cost you about £260, but will stop a bullet from just about any handgun short of a Magnum - even at close quarters.

They're popular not just with police forces, but increasingly with security firms and even ordinary members of the public.

Bullet-proof vests are used by police forces up and down the country. Credit: PA

But unscrupulous dealers are selling second-hand vests online and through surplus shops.

Experts say many are useless, either old and degraded or designed to stop blades not bullets.

Philip Harper bought a vest. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

46-year-old Philip Harper from Meldreth near Cambridge bought what he thought was a bullet-proof vest.

He died in June last year after being shot in the chest by his friend Ian Catley.

They decided to test the body armour while out shooting on this farmland south of Meldreth.

Mr Harper's mother described him as a "delinquent Ray Mears" who was always up for a challenge.

Catley was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court. Credit: ITV

Catley admitted manslaughter and today was sentenced to seven years at Southwark Crown Court.

Experts say no-one should buy or trust any military equipment bought second-hand or from anything other than a reputable source.

Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC heard that after the shooting Catley took his friend to Melbourn ambulance station where he died.

Catley took his friend to Melbourn ambulance station. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"The risk of death or serious injury to Mr Harper must, in my judgement, have been absolutely obvious to you when you shot at him at close range."

– Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC

Catley told police he'd only fired, because his friend wanted him to.