Essex shooting's drug links

A MAN shot dead on the doorstep of his Essex home was a convicted crack cocaine dealer only recently released from prison.A major police investigation has been launched after John Ward was gunned down at his house in Point Clear Road, St Osyth, after apparently opening the door to his killer.

A MAN shot dead on the doorstep of his Essex home was a convicted crack cocaine dealer only recently released from prison.

A major police investigation has been launched after John Ward was gunned down at his house in Point Clear Road, St Osyth, after apparently opening the door to his killer.

Neighbours yesterday spoke of their shock at the gangland-style shooting in the quiet seaside village and holiday resort.

Police and paramedics were called to the scene just before 9.20pm on Tuesday and once the area had been declared safe Mr Ward was given first aid.


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But the efforts were in vain and Mr Ward, who was 21 when he was jailed last November, died just before 10.30pm.

Detectives have yet to make any arrests on the case, but are hoping to speak to a man of Asian or Turkish appearance who was seen in the area at the time.

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It has still not yet been confirmed whether the weapon that killed him was a pistol or a shotgun, and how many shots were fired, but ballistics experts and forensics officers were at the detached house yesterday.

It emerged Mr Ward had been arrested and convicted last year as part of a major crackdown on Class A drugs in the Clacton area.

Operation Easel led to prison sentences for 16 men, including Mr Ward, who was sentenced to a two-and-a-half year stretch last November for his involvement in dealing crack cocaine and heroin.

After the arrests it was revealed police had discovered a CCTV camera being used by Mr Ward to monitor visitors to the house he was living in at the time.

Speaking last year Detective Sergeant Carl Oldfield, who was in charge of Operation Easel, said: “You could get Class A drugs in Clacton faster than you could get a pizza.”

Friends of Mr Ward yesterday stopped to leave flowers at the top of the driveway, with notes saying “rest in peace” on them.

A white canopy covered the entrance to the house and plastic pots protecting evidence were dotted around the driveway, while a pair of white trainers were left beside the door.

Superintendent Carl O'Malley said: “We are appealing for the public to assist us, there is one person we would like to speak to in relation to the incident who was seen around the scene of Point Clear Road.”

Essex Police made an appeal for anyone who may have seen the killer in the area to contact them.

A police spokeswoman said: “A man called at the address shortly before 9.20pm last night. It's not certain how many shots were then fired or at this stage what the weapon was that was involved.

“The brief description we have at the moment is of one man of Asian or Turkish appearance who is described as approximately 5ft 10ins tall, of medium build and in his late 20s or early 30s.

“He has no discernible accent but was politely spoken. He had no facial hair and wore a dark blue top.

“It's unconfirmed at this stage whether a vehicle was involved.

“Were you in the Point Clear Road area between 9pm and 9.30pm last night and notice anything suspicious for instance a speeding car or a vehicle with its engine running, suspicious individuals?

“Did you notice any suspicious activity in the area, particularly last night or in the last few days?

“Do you know anything about this incident or those responsible?”

Officers are also studying CCTV and have asked for anyone who may have footage to contact them.

DS Kevin Macey is leading the investigation and anyone with information should call the major investigation team based at Stanway on 01206 762122.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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