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Byerley Stud's Martin Hawcroft Dead In "Mysterious Shooting"
Prominent horse breeder Martin Hawcroft "has been found dead in a mysterious shooting incident at his Upper Hunter stud" reported The Newcastle Herald this morning. Detectives "are investigating whether the 53-year-old may have been accidentally shot by his own gun as he climbed through a barbed wire fence". Byerley Stud manager Michelle Harris "found her boss's body caught up in the fence surrounding a paddock on the Sandy Hollow property about 10am yesterday". He had "a fatal gunshot wound to the stomach" & "a rifle was nearby". Hawcroft (who was also managing director of the family-owned Noahs On The Beach hotel overlooking Newcastle Beach) "had been last seen on Sunday". Hunter Valley crime manager Detective Inspector Trent King said Hawcroft's death "was not being treated as suspicious or as a suicide". The autopsy "could be performed in Newcastle as early as this morning".