Brentwood: Search for Gunman 'Intensifies'

3 September 2013, 10:35 | Updated: 3 September 2013, 10:43

Essex Police say they have received several reports of sightings of a suspected gunman wanted over the attempted murder of two men at a traveller site near Brentwood.

Officers are urging Francis O'Donoghue to hand himself in following the shooting on a travellers site off Goatswood Lane in Navestock at 3:30pm last Tuesday (27 August).

Two men in their 20s from the Brentwood area sustained gunshot wounds to the legs and chest. They underwent surgery and are now recovering with relatives after being discharged from hospital.

As well as continuing with their enquiries in Essex, detectives are continuing to focus their attention on traveller sites in Hertfordshire and throughout London where it is thought the 27-year-old may be hiding out with friends or relatives.

The incident room in Harlow has received a number of calls from people living in London, west and south Essex and south Hertfordshire who have seen police appeals across the regional and national media as well as on social networking sites.

Essex Police's Superintendent Trevor Roe said: "Francis O'Donoghue was definitely at the site when the shooting took place so our primary focus is to find him and take him off the streets.

"The attack was initiated by an ongoing neighbour feud which began earlier in the day outside a shop in Harold Wood.

"The response from the media appeals has been promising. Many of our leads are emanating from these calls so we're extremely grateful for people's help, but we are still looking for more information on Francis's movements in the region.

"We are maintaining our liaison with all UK police forces, especially the Metropolitan Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary. Again, we would urge anyone who knows him to avoid him purely because he is in possession of a handgun and those who come into contact with him should call us immediately. There is nothing though to suggest that people in the wider community are at risk of being injured."

Francis O'Donoghue is described as white, approximately 5ft 11ins tall, of medium build, has short-brown hair, has protruding ears and speaks with an Irish accent.

Anyone with information in connection with this shooting is urged to contact detectives at Harlow's Major Investigation Team on 101, email them on SCDappeals@essex.pnn.police.ukor call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Anyone who knows of his whereabouts is urged to call 999.