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Breeder Hawcroft dies in shooting accident

PROMINENT Australian breeder Martin Hawcroft has been found dead after an apparent shooting accident at his Byerley Stud in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Detectives are investigating whether the 53-year-old Hawcroft may have been accidentally shot by his own gun as he climbed through a barbed wire fence.

Byerley Stud manager Michelle Harrisfound Hawcroft's body caught in a fence surrounding a paddock on the Sandy Hollow property on Monday.

Police reported Hawcroft was found to have suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the stomach. A rifle was found nearby.

Hawcroft was last seen on Sunday.

Byerley Stud was established by the late Ted Hawcroft, Martin's father.

The Hawcroft family also invested in hotel and motel properties in the Hunter Valley.

Martin Hawcroft was managing director of the family-owned Noahs On The Beach hotel overlooking Newcastle Beach.

Hunter Valley crime manager Detective Inspector Trent King said Hawcroft's death was not being treated as suspicious or asa suicide.






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