BUSINESSMAN Guy Hedger waited almost 50 minutes for an ambulance after he was shot because he wasn’t categorised as a top priority patient.

Mr Hedger, who was 61, died after he suffered shotgun wounds to the torso at his home in Castlewood, near St Ives, in the early hours of Sunday, April 30. He was pronounced dead at Poole Hospital.

His husband of 12 years, 48-year-old Simon-Pierre Hedger-Cooper, made the call to the emergency services.

However, the handlers who took the call didn’t place it in the most serious category, meaning ambulances failed to arrive at Mr Hedger’s address for almost an hour.

A spokesperson from the South Western Ambulance Service said: “It was not categorised as category one.

“There are pathways to follow as part of the triage system and if someone is conscious and breathing, that call will be treated differently to someone who is not. Everyone is treated the same way under that system.”

The ambulance service was “very busy” during the bank holiday weekend, the spokesperson said.

“The information received at the time of the initial call at 3.05am from the police reported the patient as conscious and breathing. It was during the incident, when additional information was received, that this call was upgraded to a category one incident at 3.31am. Ambulance crews arrived on scene at 3.51am,” she said.

“There were eight other patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses at this time in the area, including patients who were unconscious, in cardiac arrest, with heavy bleeding and breathing problems, plus a further 21 patients requiring an ambulance response.

“ In addition, under national agreed mutual support arrangements, we were helping colleagues at South Central Ambulance Service at a fatal road traffic collision over the county border in Hampshire.

“The ambulance service has a finite number of vehicles available to respond, so prioritises as appropriate.

“In this instance, police firearms officers were on scene who are trained to a high level of advance life support skills and were able to provide care on the scene before ambulance crews arrived.

“The highly-skilled paramedics and the firearms medical team worked hard to save the patient’s life, and were on scene for more than 40 minutes before moving the patient to the hospital.”

Three men have been charged with murder in connection to Mr Hedger’s death. A 40-year-old Bournemouth woman was released under investigation.

Last night, a fifth person was arrested by detectives