Detectives have launched a murder investigation after a man died following a robbery in Hullbridge.
The 57-year-old victim had been out for the evening with his wife and friends and was returning to the friendsâ€™ address in The Drive at about 11.10pm on Sunday March 19.
They were approached outside by two men wearing balaclavas and gloves. One of them had what appeared to be a gun.
The victims were forced into the house and demands were made, following which a sum of money was handed over.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “This is an extremely tragic incident during which an innocent man lost his life.
“My thoughts are very much with his family and friends at this very difficult time.
“We have now launched a murder investigation and are treating this as an isolated, targeted incident.
“The victims had gone to The Anchor pub in Ferry Road for drinks, where they remained from around 6pm to 11pm.
“They then drove the short distance back to the address in The Drive, where the robbers approached them outside and forced them into the house. They then made demands, following which cash was handed over.
“From our enquiries so far, we understand that during the incident one of the suspects pushed the victim and he fell heavily onto a low level wall, causing a serious brain injury.
“He was taken to Addenbrookeâ€™s Hospital in Cambridge, where he sadly died today, Tuesday March 21. His family have decided to donate his organs to help save the lives of others.
No-one else was hurt during the incident and the firearm was not discharged.
Police carried out a search of the area, assisted by the force helicopter, and enquiries are ongoing to identify and locate the suspects.
DCI Pasmore said: “These men were clearly ready to use any level of violence necessary to achieve their aim and my team and I are determined to bring them to justice.
“I am keen to speak to anybody who saw anyone acting suspiciously in or near The Drive in the days leading up to the robbery.
“I also want to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in or around The Drive or near The Anchor pub in Ferry Road between around 5pm and 11.15pm on Sunday.â€
District commander Chief Inspector Glen Westley said: “Incidents such as this are extremely rare and we believe this is an isolated incident.
“Although we believe there is no wider risk to the community, I know residents will understandably be very concerned.
“Our neighbourhood constables and PCSOs have been out on extra patrols to provide reassurance to the community.
“If anyone has any concerns, or information that could help with our investigation, I would encourage them to speak to our officers.â€
Detectives are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to contact 101 or email email@example.com
They can also contact independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.