Burger van shooting victim's pledge

By Ted JeoryTHE victim of a mystery burger van shooting has vowed to return to work and not to be “bullied out of business”.The 46-year-old fast food vendor is still haunted by the attack on February 24 last year when a masked man jumped from bushes and fired a shotgun into his right leg as he was setting up his burger van.

By Ted Jeory

THE victim of a mystery burger van shooting has vowed to return to work and not to be “bullied out of business”.

The 46-year-old fast food vendor is still haunted by the attack on February 24 last year when a masked man jumped from bushes and fired a shotgun into his right leg as he was setting up his burger van.

The former Braintree lorry driver, who asked not to be named, said both his his leg and his confidence had been shattered by the incident, which has left him “paranoid” and fearing to step into the outside world.


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He claimed that before the shooting, which happened at dawn on the Springwood industrial estate in Braintree, he had been told by “individuals” to stop trading otherwise he would be shot.

“I also had my car tyres slashed - greedy people were obviously out to get me,” said the man.

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Detectives initially believed the gunman was known to his victim, but they later dismissed that theory due to a lack of evidence.

There was also talk about burger van wars and a possible protection racket operating in the area, but the victim, a father-of-three, said he knew nothing about those theories.

“I had only been operating on the estate for two weeks when the attack happened. It was about 6.15am and I was alone - I was an easy target,” he recalled.

“All of a sudden, a masked man jumped from bushes and shot me - I didn't have a hope in hell.”

Since then he has undergone surgery and now his right leg is one inch shorter than his left.

The man said he was still in pain, but was planning to soon return to work to help out his wife and son who have been running the burger van on the same patch for the past year.

“There's been no trouble since the shooting, but we won't be bullied out,” he vowed. “My life has changed so much. I used to play football with my son, but I can't even do that now.

Urging witnesses to come forward, he added: “The shot was heard by local residents and passing traffic. I don't believe all the motorists have come forward with information.”

Police arrested two men - a 45-year-old from Chelmsford and a 36-year-old from Braintree - on suspicion of attempted murder, but they were later released without charge.

Detectives renewed yesterday their appeal for people with knowledge of the “callous” shooting to come forward.

Detective Constable Dominic Davis, of Braintree police, said: “The victim has suggested lines of inquiry and we have followed those up, but we have not found any evidence to corroborate his theory.

“We've done everything that can be done, but we're struggling a bit with it - we can't find any real motive for it.

“We just hope that the first anniversary will jog people's memories. The attacker is a dangerous man who used a shotgun to inflict injury and induce fear into his victim.”

The gunman is described as average height and build and was wearing a balaclava. Anyone with information should contact Braintree police on 01376 551312 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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