Travellers Urged To Help Trace 'Wanted Man'

A suspected gunman from Essex, on the run from police is now East Anglia’s most wanted man, with detectives appealing for friends and family members of travelling communities in Norfolk and Suffolk urged to contact officers.

Francis O’Donoghue is the subject of an Essex Police manhunt following a shooting on a travellers’ site off Goatswood Lane in Navestock at 3:30pm on Tuesday, August 27. Two men in their 20s from the Brentwood area sustained gunshot wounds to the legs and chest and underwent surgery. The shooting was the culmination of an ongoing neighbour feud which began outside a shop in Harold Wood (east London) earlier in the day (Tuesday).

The investigation is gathering pace with public sightings providing detectives with numerous leads. Detectives have not ruled out the possibility that he has been in contact with family and friends in the east Anglian so are appealing to them to contact Essex Police.

A nationwide appeal was recently made on BBC Crimewatch as the hunt for Francis O’Donoghue enters its fourth week. A few hours before the programme aired, a 28-year-old man from north London was arrested by armed police in Navestock on suspicion of assisting an offender. He was later released on police bail until late October pending further enquiries.

Essex Police’s Supt Trevor Roe said: “Francis O’Donoghue is not only Essex’s number one priority arrest, but he is east Anglia’s with all our neighbouring forces on alert to find him. People living and working in Norfolk and Suffolk  could play a key role in helping us arrest him. He is potentially in possession of a handgun so everyone can see the necessity for him to be taken off the streets. With this in mind, we need the community’s eyes and ears and urge them to call us with sightings so that we can act on the information and detain him. The support we have so far received from the public in England has been fantastic and we now expand this appeal for help to those living and working across just beyond the Essex border to provide us with the leads which will lead to Francis’ arrest.”

People should avoid any physical contact with the 27-year-old glazier as he may be in possession of a handgun, with anyone coming into contact with him urged to call police immediately. However, there is nothing 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 and has protruding ears.

Anyone with information in connection with this shooting is urged to contact detectives at Harlow’s Major Investigation Team on 01279 621802, email them on or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Anyone who knows of the man’s whereabouts is urged to call 999.