Cambridgeshire shooting victims were father and son, police say, with ‘custody battle an active line of inquiry’

·4 min read

Two men shot dead in Cambridgeshire villages six miles apart were a father and son, police said on Thursday.

Detective chief superintendent Jon Hutchinson, of Cambridgeshire Police, said the “primary line of investigation” was that the shootings related to a “familial issue”.

“Working with local residents and family members we quite quickly established that the two victims were related and they were father and son,” he told the media on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s been widely reported in the media that this may relate to a custody battle,” he said. “I can confirm that is an active line of inquiry for us.”

Police were called to a property in Meridian Close, Bluntisham, just after 9pm on Wednesday following reports of gunshots.

Detective chief superintendent Jon Hutchinson speaks to the media outside Cambridgeshire Police HQ (PA)
Detective chief superintendent Jon Hutchinson speaks to the media outside Cambridgeshire Police HQ (PA)

Officers arrived to find the body of a 32-year-old man inside a property with a gunshot wound and are now treating his death as murder.

Shortly afterwards, about 9.30pm, police received a call from a person in Sutton, near Ely, also reporting having heard gunshots. The body of a 57-year-old man was found at a property in The Row with gunshot wounds and his death is also being treated as murder.

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, Cambridgeshire Police said, adding officers do not believe there is a risk to the public.

Police at the scene in The Row in Sutton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, where police found the body of a 57-year-old man who had died from gunshot wounds (PA)
Police at the scene in The Row in Sutton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire, where police found the body of a 57-year-old man who had died from gunshot wounds (PA)

Mr Hutchinson said that officers made a “very quick two arrests in a hotel just outside Cambridge”.

“In the early hours of this morning we did a joint operation alongside West Mercia Police at which stage a 66-year-old man was arrested on the motorway by armed officers,” he said.

“Following his arrest his vehicle was searched and I can confirm we have recovered a firearm.”

He said the man was in police custody in Worcester and is being transported to Cambridgeshire for interview.

The officer said that an “active line of inquiry” is “understanding whether that firearm was legally owned”.

He said that “at this stage we’re not looking for any further people in relation” to the incident.

The detective said that “a line of inquiry that we’re focusing on is that those people who are in custody are known to the deceased and have had recent contact with them”.

He said forensic work was going on to establish if the same weapon was used at both locations.

The two people arrested at a hotel just outside Cambridge were “from the local area but we’re trying to identify where they have been staying in recent days”, he said.

Police at the scene in Meridian Close, Bluntisham (PA)
Police at the scene in Meridian Close, Bluntisham (PA)

He added that the “initial arrests have been made for conspiracy to murder - that is likely to change as information develops in the hours ahead”.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said earlier on Thursday: “We are treating the attacks as linked and targeted and there is no wider risk to the general public. There will be an increased police presence in the areas concerned today.”

In the early hours of Thursday, police arrested a 27-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman in Cambridge, and a 66-year-old man in the Worcester area.

All three were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.

A car that was believed to have been used by the offender, a white Peugeot 208, and a shotgun have been recovered.

Detective Inspector Mark Butler, from the major crime unit, said: “Tonight we have launched two linked murder investigations following the shootings of two men at separate properties in the county.

“These events will be shocking to local people and there will be understandable concerns within local communities, however, we are treating the attacks as targeted and there is no wider risk to the general public.

“There will be an increased police presence in the areas concerned today and officers and scenes of crime officers will be at the scenes throughout the day. “Our thoughts also go out to the family and friends of the victims.

Flowers left at the scene in The Row in Sutton (PA)
Flowers left at the scene in The Row in Sutton (PA)

“Specially trained officers are in touch with them and they are helping our investigation.”

He added: “Detectives are now beginning inquiries into how these events unfolded and we are appealing to anyone who was in either area and saw anyone acting suspiciously or a white Peugeot 208.

“Any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could be very important to our investigation.”

Anyone with information should report online here or via the web chat service and quote Operation Scan. Those without internet access should call 101.