A MAN found tangled in a fence with fatal gunshot wounds is believed to be Hunter Valley horse racing identity and hotelier Martin Hawcroft.Mr Hawcroft, 53, is believed to have accidentally shot himself as he climbed through the fence on a property at Sandy Hollow, west of Muswellbrook, yesterday.
Police said he suffered fatal gunshot wounds to his stomach and was caught up in a barbed wire fence.
Fairfax newspapers today named the dead man as Martin Hawcroft, managing director of Byerley Stud, a 400ha farming and horse breeding business, near Sandy Hollow.
Mr Hawcroft was also managing director of Noah's On The Beach, a hotel in Newcastle.
He had not been seen since Sunday and a member of staff found his body, with his rifle nearby, the Newcastle Herald reported.
Newcastle Jockey Club racing manager John Curtis said Mr Hawcroft was a long-term member and supporter of racing.
"It's a tragedy," Mr Curtis said.
"He was a great businessman and was a sponsor and member of the NJC for many years."