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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Tara Cobham

Bluntisham shootings: Three arrested after two men shot dead in ‘targeted’ attacks in Cambridgeshire


A father and son have been shot dead within an hour in two quiet Cambridgeshire villages six miles apart.

Police have arrested three people and said their “primary line of investigation” was that the attacks in Bluntisham and Earith on Wednesday night related to a “familial issue”, with enquiries ongoing as to whether a “custody battle” was involved.

Detective chief superintendent Jon Hutchinson, of Cambridgeshire Police, said that officers made a “very quick two arrests in a hotel just outside Cambridge” and recovered a firearm, adding the pair were thought to be from the local area.

Police at the scene in Meridian Close, Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire, where police found the body of a 32-year-old man with a gunshot wound on Wednesday evening (PA)

A woman, who lives near to the houses sealed off by murder detectives in Sutton, Cambridgeshire, said she heard three loud bangs on Wednesday evening.

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“I didn’t know it was gunshots at the time,” the woman, who did not want to be named, said. “It was about 9.15pm; I thought it was something blowing over as I heard a bang. I didn’t think anything crazy had happened. I heard two more – it was bang, space, bang.

“Whether or not they were each gunshots I don’t know; then police were outside the house.”

Gordon Murray, who also lives near two semi-detached houses that have been sealed off by murder detectives in Sutton, said he saw police cars “racing down” and armed police shouting on Wednesday evening.

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)

The 62-year-old support engineer said officers later asked him if he had CCTV footage, and when he looked back he saw a white car that made two passes, and on the second pass the car stopped and someone opened the boot.

“I saw the police cars racing down here,” he said. “There was a lot of shouting. I thought it was an altercation or something. Then I saw the armed police. They were shouting something to the homeowners. That was it. I stood in the window watching.”

Mr Murray said there were two cars with “three or four” officers in each, “all armed and with their headgear”.

Cambridgeshire police were called to reports of gunshots and found the body of a 32-year-old man inside a house in Meridian Close, Bluntisham just after 9pm. He had a gunshot wound and officers are now treating his death as a murder.

Flowers left at the scene in The Row in Sutton, near Ely, Cambridgeshire (PA)

Under an hour later, at 9.37pm, police received a call from a person in Sutton reporting gunshots and found the body of a 57-year-old man inside a house on The Row in Sutton, near Ely. He also had gunshot wounds and his death is being treated as another murder.

Mr Murray said his son “heard some bangs but I don’t know if that was the car doors slamming”.

A white hatchback “came around twice” and stopped outside, he said. When someone opened the boot he “couldn’t see him get anything out, it was very fuzzy”.

He said he does not know if the homes sealed off by police are rental properties but believes “a guy on his own” stays there.

The local resident who heard the three loud bangs also said a man who lived at one of the properties sealed off by police “always had really fancy cars out the front, souped up, cool looking cars”.

Forensics at the scene in The Row in Sutton in a quiet part of Cambridgeshire (PA)

A 52-year-old man, who did not want to give his name and lives just off The Row in Sutton, Cambridgeshire, said the victim “kept himself to himself. Never really came across him as far as I know. Just lived a quiet life, very unassuming. Never really saw him about.”

A woman who lives close to a new build cul-de-sac estate sealed off by murder detectives in Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire said she could hear a helicopter circling late on Wednesday evening “for at least half an hour”.

The woman, speaking anonymously, added, “Considering how quiet the village is it’s really surprising to hear this has happened.”

Retail worker Sharon Coulson, 58, who lives nearby described Bluntisham as a “nice place to live, nice country walks, friendly, everybody says hello”.

Police forensics officers at the scene in The Row in Sutton (PA)

The roads in Bluntisham and Sutton are around six miles apart.

The properties in Meridian Close and The Row have been cordoned off and police officers remain at the scenes.

Forensic officers in white suits worked at the scene on Thursday morning, with two bunches of flowers left on the drive and uniformed officers and a marked car beside blue-and-white police tape sealing off the homes.

Neither victim has been named yet as they have not been formally identified.

A 27-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman were arrested in the early hours of Thursday in Cambridge, while a 66-year-old man was arrested in the Worcester area.

All three were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder. A white Peugeot 208 and a shotgun have been recovered by police.

Police at the scene in Meridian Close, Bluntisham, Cambridgeshire, which has been cordoned off (PA)

A neighbour who works at a local shop said she saw “three or four police cars” going towards Earith, Cambridgeshire, on Wednesday night.

Speaking outside her house just off The Row, in Sutton, the woman, who did not want to give her name, said she was “shocked” when she saw the news on Facebook on Thursday morning. “Especially that it is just on the corner of where I live,” she added.

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

“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 is urged by police to report online here or via the web chat service and quote Operation Scan. Those without internet access are asked to call 101.

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