Essex

John 'Goldfinger' Palmer: Trial could 'change loyalties'

John "Goldfinger" Palmer Image copyright PA
Image caption John "Goldfinger" Palmer was shot six times in his garden

Officers investigating the "professional" killing of a notorious fraudster hope underworld loyalty changes will help find his killers.

John "Goldfinger" Palmer, 65, was shot six times outside his Essex home in 2015.

Members of a timeshare scam in which Mr Palmer was involved were jailed after a trial in Spain this week.

Police hope some of those involved in Goldfinger's activities will now come forward.

It was first thought Mr Palmer died of natural causes after being shot in the chest at his home on Sandpits Lane in South Weald, near Brentwood, before a post-mortem examination revealed his injuries.

Police have previously said the shooting had "all the hallmarks" of a professional hit.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Police found five of the bullets used to kill Palmer. A ballistics expert said the killer used a .32 calibre silenced revolver

Det Supt Stephen Jennings said he believed the timing of the shooting meant it was connected to the trial as Mr Palmer had only found out he would be a defendant a short while before.

He said: "The key question is why he was killed in 2015. There were some significant incidents, crime and some arrests that took place in the early part of 2015 that I think had the potential to be the motive behind it.

"Although we haven't completely excluded [other motives] I still think this trial holds the key as to why John was killed and by who."

A £100,000 reward for information about the killing put up by Mr Palmer's family remains on offer.

It had been theorised that the killing may have links to the Hatton Garden robbery, which saw items worth up to £200m stolen from a safe deposit facility in London in 2015.

Det Supt Jennings said there was nothing to suggest he was involved although he had been connected to some of those since jailed for the heist.

Image copyright PA

John "Goldfinger" Palmer: A life of crime

  • Born near Birmingham, his nickname derives from his connection to the 1983 £25m Brink's-Mat gold bullion robbery at Heathrow Airport. He was acquitted, but his associate Kenneth Noye was convicted
  • Palmer was jailed in the UK for eight years in 2001 for a £20m Spanish timeshare fraud involving 16,000 victims. He served half his sentence and a confiscation order for £33m was overturned at the Court of Appeal
  • In 2005, he was declared bankrupt with debts of £3.9m, despite a reputed wealth of £300m
  • Two years later, he was arrested by Spanish police and charged with fraud, firearm possession and money laundering
  • He was due to stand trial on these charges at the time of his death
Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Detectives believe Mr Palmer's killer may have used this hole in a fence to spy on him

Det Supt Jennings added: "I think now that trial has finished there may not be that fear factor, there may not be that worry amongst those individuals that they now have the opportunity to come forward an give that key bit of information."

Police said the killing was most likely carried out by a professional due to the manner, place and time of the attack, including the fact he may have been watched by his killer through a spyhole in a fence.

Despite an arrest being made, no-one has ever been charged over his death.

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