Fugitive guilty of Rocky Dawson murder in Hornchurch

James Tomkins (left) and Rocky Dawson
Image caption James Tomkins is charged with Rocky Dawson's murder

A fugitive murderer has been convicted of killing a young father in front of his children.

James Tomkins, 61, lived in exile under an assumed identity on the Costa del Sol, in Spain, after the "brutal execution" of 24-year-old Rocky Dawson.

Woolwich Crown Court heard Mr Dawson was shot several times in the back as he put the children in his Fiat Punto, in Hornchurch, east London, in 2006.

The children, aged two and six, were unharmed during the incident.

Tomkins' accomplice Christopher Pearman, of Waltham Abbey, Essex, received a life sentence for the murder at the same court in 2007.

After several years on the run, Tomkins, who was named as one of Britain's 10 most wanted criminals in 2008, was traced near Marbella and extradited.

Tomkins shot Mr Dawson from a dark-blue Land Rover Freelander vehicle, which drove past the victim's car, which was on the drive of his parent's home as the attack took place.

Candy Dawson, Mr Dawson's mother, said: "Rocky will always live on in our memory and our hearts."

Det Insp Mark Lawson said: "This was a brutal execution of a totally innocent young man in what we believe to have been a case of mistaken identity.

"He was gunned down in front of his two children who were lucky to have escaped uninjured.

"Despite the arrest and subsequent conviction of Christopher Pearman we knew James Tomkins was a key player in this murder.

"Since his extradition and return to the UK he has shown no remorse for his callous actions."

Tomkins will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on Monday.

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