South East Wales

Newport shooting: Police knew of relationship issues

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Media captionArmed police were among the emergency services at the scene

The relationship problems of a couple at the centre of the fatal Newport shooting were known to police and the case has been referred to the IPCC.

Armed police were called to Seabreeze Avenue in the city at 08:45 BST after reports of gunshots.

A man, 49, and a woman, 46, were found seriously injured and taken to hospital where the woman later died.

One eyewitness described seeing two people lying by the side of a car parked in the middle of the road.

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Media captionSam Williams describes the scene he found moments after hearing shots

Describing the incident as "tragic", Ch Insp Huw Nicholas of Gwent Police said officers were still trying to establish exactly what had happened.

"While I am limited as to what I can say about the people involved, what I can say is it is known that they had previously been in a relationship which had come to the attention of police.

"For this reason we have referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission."

The emergency services were called to Seabreeze Avenue near Willenhall Street on Thursday morning after neighbours reported hearing two or three gunshots.

Neighbours said the injured pair had been married but were estranged.

'Too late'

Sam Williams, 33, who lives in Seabreeze Avenue, said he was first on the scene after hearing a gunshot.

"I thought it was a car back firing. I got up and started going downstairs and my partner was heading outside when I heard another shot," he said.

"Then I heard her [his partner's] screams. She was on the phone to the police. I approached the scene and there was a weapon on the floor."

He recalled: "The woman was close to her car with a fatal shotgun wound to the chest.

"I called the woman for a response but it was obvious it was too late. The man was still alive and breathing.

"There was a single-barrel shotgun and two cartridges on the floor. I recognised the lady and her car and I recognise the gentleman's car.

"I didn't want to go too close or touch anything. The lady's car engine was running but the police told me not to touch anything."

Image caption Police cordoned off the street following reports of gunfire

In a statement earlier on Thursday, Gwent Police said: "Police were called to Seabreeze Avenue, Newport at about 8.45 am this morning after a report of what sounded like gun shots had been fired.

"Armed police attended and found a male and female injured.

"Both were taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital with serious injuries.

"The 46-year-old female has since died and the 49-year-old male remains in surgery at this time.

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Media captionCh Insp Huw Nicholas said there was no continuing threat to local residents

"It is not believed anyone else is involved in the incident and both of those involved were known to each other."

Victoria Neill, 26, who lives on the estate, said she heard about the incident and went to see what was going on.

"I saw two people laying on the street either side of a car parked in the middle of the street - it was a red sports car.

"I thought they were two men, but I couldn't see properly, they were laying face down.

"Both the doors and the boot of the car were open, which I thought was unusual. There was a Ford Focus parked next to it, which also had the boot open.

"Then the emergency services started arriving and I was asked to go back."

Phil Passey, 30, homeowner on the street, said: "You don't expect to come off the main road and see a police cordon.

"It's very very quiet around here, there's never any trouble.

"I think it happened a minute's walk from my house. It's a scary thought."

Kelly Holbrook has lived nearby for almost five years.

"I woke up this morning and someone had put something on Facebook saying they had seen someone get shot and then shot themselves," she said.

"It's quite a quiet area - it's a massive shock."

The IPCC confirmed it had received a referral relating to the shooting.

"It's currently being assessed and a decision as to how it will be investigated will be made in due course," it added.

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