Murdered clubber 'gangland' theory

POLICE hunting the gunman who killed a night clubber in Ipswich are investigating the possibility that the victim had been caught up in a violent “gangland” battle.

By Richard Smith

POLICE hunting the gunman who killed a night clubber in Ipswich are investigating the possibility that the victim had been caught up in a violent “gangland” battle.

Detectives revealed for the first time yesterdaythat the 24-year-old man who died at Zest nightclub in Princes Street had been shot. It was inititially thought he was the victim of a stabbing.

He was named as Jimoh Plunkett, of South London, and police officers do not believe he had any links with Ipswich but he had come to Zest for a nightclub event featuring garage music which attracted coach loads of people from a wide radius.

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Police say his family is too distraught to talk to the media about his death.

Several shots shattered the sound of music playing at the nightclub on Friday night and Suffolk police said yesterday that hundreds of clubbers had become hysterical and ran for safety.

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Now detectives are trying to piece together what is described as a complex murder investigation and they aim to speak to everyone at the nightclub.

A total of four men were shot - the other three were not seriously hurt - and a gun was discovered in a bag from outside the nightclub. Another person was stabbed.

There are 35 officers working on the murder inquiry and they are being assisted by officers from the Metropolitan Police and the forces in Essex and Norfolk.

The nightclub has been closed since the terrifying events of Friday night and yesterday afternoon magistrates in Ipswich were asked by Suffolk police to grant an order closing the premises until further notice.

Detective Superintendent David Cole, who is heading the murder inquiry, said: “At its peak there were probably up to 800 people in the club and what is clear is that following the discharge of a firearm within those premises, there was a hysterical response and people exited via a fire exit.

“Whether those people returned to the premises or not, we are not sure.

''It must have been extremely disturbing. Suffolk has never experienced, in my 28-and-a-half years within the police force, the discharge of a firearm within a social club environment.''

The murder inquiry team has not uncovered a motive behind the killing but DS Cole admitted that “gangland” warfare was one theory under consideration.

''Nationally we are aware of those levels of dispute occurring, mainly within the Metropolitan area, and that is one theory that the inquiry is considering, but it is still too early to detail the motive.”

Mr Plunkett was found lying on the ground outside the night club at about 2.15am on Saturday. He was taken to Ipswich Hospital with what was thought to be a stab wound and died within two hours.

While officers were at the hospital they were told that a man aged 25 from the Carsholton area of Surrey had been admitted with gun shot wounds to his shoulder, backside and legs.

He was expected to be released from hospital yesterday.

At 2.50am Suffolk police was told by officers in Essex that two men had returned to Stanway, Colchester, after being shot in Ipswich.

An 18-year-old from Deptford had a leg injury and a 19-year-old from Stanway had an injury to his arm.

They have received treatment at Colchester General Hospital and they have been interviewed by police.

Officers at Zest found a man with what appeared to be a small stab wound. He was detained on suspicion of a public order offence and he has been released on police bail until January 17.

Meanwhile, murder squad detectives have also been monitoring events in Kesgrave where eight people were arrested on suspicion of firearms offences on Saturday.

Two women and six men have been released on bail until March 14 or 15 and DS Cole stressed there was ''nothing to link them with Zest at this time.''

DS Cole appealed to all nightclubbers at Zest to give any information about the incident and they should call Suffolk police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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