A senior detective has appeared on Crimewatch to appeal for information about the murder of a man in Brentwood.
John Palmer was shot dead in the garden of his home in Sandpit Lane in South Weald on Wednesday, June 24 last year.
The 65-year-old s body was discovered at around 5.30pm and a forensic post-mortem revealed that he had been shot six times.
A murder investigation was launched and a team of around 20 detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate have been working to establish the reason behind his murder.
Mr Palmer had been burning rubbish in his garden when detectives believe the killer entered the garden over the fence and shot him with what they believe to have been a handgun.
No gun shots were heard and the murder took place in part of the garden not covered by CCTV. Mr Palmer managed to stagger a short distance towards the house before collapsing and being found by his son s girlfriend.
DCI Stephen Jennings said: We are absolutely convinced this was a professional hit and our investigation is very much a search not just for the gunman but for the person or people who commissioned his murder.
John Palmer had a significant criminal history in both the UK and Europe and was due to stand trial in Spain for property fraud. As a result there are a number of associates we need to identify and explore as part of our investigation.
However we have made some significant developments and the Crimewatch appeal was an opportunity for us to update people on our investigation and encourage people with information about Mr Palmer and why he was killed to come forward.
DCI Stephen Jennings appealed for help from viewers to identify some men seen near Mr Palmer s home. His team want to speak to two or three men seen digging in woodland at about 11.50am on the day before Mr Palmer s murder. One of the men was aged 30 to 40, just under 6ft tall and of average build with dark hair.
They also want to identify a man who was seen in Weald Country Park next to Mr Palmer s home at about 5.50pm on the day he was shot. The man was white, in his early 20s, around 5ft 10in tall, of slim build and had short dark blonde hair. He was wearing light blue jeans and a light coloured baggy sweat top.
Anyone with information about these men or the murder of Mr Palmer is asked to call Essex Police. Anyone who would rather not speak to police can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.