Murder victim 'not the intended target'

A MURDER victim shot dead at his family home in Essex was not the intended target, police have revealed. When John Ward was gunned down at his detached house earlier this week it was initially thought the 22-year-old had been the victim of a gangland-style execution.

DETECTIVES hunting the killer of a man in Essex are hoping to make a breakthrough after speaking to people in the area where the shooting took place.

John Ward was gunned down at his family home in Point Clear Road, St Osyth, on Tuesday March 21.

It was initially thought the 22-year-old had been the victim of a gangland-style execution but police later revealed the murderer had knocked on the door and spoke to Mr Ward and a friend, asking if another, unnamed man, was in.

After closing the door at about 9.20pm a shotgun was fired and Mr Ward was hit in his neck and he died about an hour later.

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On Tuesday evening - one week on from the shooting - detectives returned to the scene and spoke to 190 drivers and 24 pedestrians to try to uncover fresh information.

A spokeswoman for the force said all the information was now being assessed by officers working on the case.

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Police have already released a computer image of a man they want to speak to who was seen in the area on the night of the killing.

The man is of Asian or Turkish appearance, in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5ft 10ins tall, with a medium build, and he was wearing a dark blue top with a zip at the front and a dark woolly hat.

At a police press conference in Colchester last week Detective Superintendent Kevin Macey said he was sure Mr Ward was not the intended target of the “grudge” killing.

After Mr Ward's death, it was revealed he had been sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in prison for dealing Class A drugs.

Between 8pm and 8.30pm on the evening of the attack the family's young German Shepherd dog, Morph, had escaped the house and was hit by a car.

Det Supt Macey said other people in the house could have answered the door to the gunman had they not been taking the dog to a vet.

He said if people were reluctant to come forward with information, they could offer confidentiality if it made them feel more secure.

He also said the location was a remote area which people should probably remember being in as it is not a through road.

Anyone wanting to speak to officers can contact the major investigation team based in Stanway on 01206 762122.

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