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18 May 2019, 08:27 | Updated: 18 May 2019, 08:30
Essex Police is renewing its appeal for information about the murder of John Palmer - after the conclusion of a criminal trial at which he was due to be a defendant.
The Palmer family, with the support of the charity Crimestoppers, are continuing to offer a reward of up to £100,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for Mr Palmer’s murder.
Mr Palmer, 65, was at his home in Sandpit Lane, South Weald in Brentwood on Wednesday June 24 2015 when he was murdered.
In the weeks prior to his death Mr Palmer and ten others were charged with various offences in relation to a real estate fraud in Tenerife.
Following on from this, speculation was rife in the underworld and media both in the UK and abroad, that Mr Palmer may have been seeking a deal with Spanish prosecutors in order to have the charges dropped. There is nothing to suggest this was true.
The timing of the criminal charges in relation to the Spanish trial and the subsequent speculation has always been a key consideration as a possible motive for detectives investigating his murder.
Now, following the conclusion of the trial and sentencing, detectives are once again appealing for information.
Senior investigating officer Det Supt Stephen Jennings of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “We know that Mr Palmer has always been the subject of scrutiny and speculation, both in the underworld and media, in relation to: his connection to organised criminals; specific high profile crimes; that he was a police informant; and that charges brought against him in Spain were about to be dropped.
“However in the last year there have been significant developments and events within the criminal underworld that may now mean people who have information may feel able to come forward.
“The fraud trial in Spain has now concluded. There is always nervousness within the underworld when a trial is looming. Now that it has concluded people may feel they can talk to us.
“At the time of Mr Palmer’s death speculation was also rife that he may have been a key figure in the Hatton Garden safety deposit burglary, which happened two months before he died. However criminal matters in relation to that offence have now concluded and there is nothing to suggest he was involved.
“We know that the key to solving Mr Palmer’s murder lies within the underworld. Loyalties do change and people may now feel able to come forward.
“Despite Mr Palmer’s past, despite the rumour and conjecture about his criminality and associations, he remains a man – a father and partner – who was murdered in cold blood at his own home.
“We police without fear or favour and we will continue to do all we can to bring his killer or killers to justice.”
Mr Palmer was burning rubbish in the garden of his home on Wednesday June 24. At around 5.30pm it is believed the killer entered the garden over the fence and shot Mr Palmer six times.
A mortally wounded Mr Palmer managed to walk a short distance towards his house before collapsing. He was then discovered by relatives who called for help. Mr Palmer died from his injuries.
A hole found in the garden fence of Mr Palmer’s rural home suggests the killer may have been watching him in the days leading up to his death.
Since his murder, detectives have closely examined his history and associations in the UK and abroad; gathered intelligence in the UK and abroad; taken hundreds of witness statements; traced vehicles; examined more than 1,400 documents and pursued more than 700 lines of enquiry.
Despite the best efforts of detectives, Mr Palmer’s murderer remains at large and his family have been left without justice.