Cambridgeshire: man arrested and charged with murder after father and son shot dead on same night
The shootings happened in separate villages around six miles apart
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A man has been arrested and charged with murder, after a father and son were shot dead on the same night in two “targeted” attacks, in villages just six miles apart.
Stephen Alderton, 66, has been charged with the murders of father and son Gary Dunmore, 57, and and Joshua Dunmore, 32, following two shootings in villages near Huntingdon on Wednesday, Cambridgeshire Constabulary said on Friday evening (31 March). The victims, who both worked in construction, died on Wednesday (29 March).
A 32-year-old man was found dead inside an address in Bluntisham, and a 57-year-old man was found dead inside a home in Sutton.
Cambridgeshire Police said Alderton, of no fixed abode, has also been charged with one count of possession of a firearm and is due to appear at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, Cambridgeshire Constabulary said.
Two people, a 27-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, who were also arrested in connection with the murders, were released without charge on Friday.
Gary Dunmore has been described as a “man who loved his family dearly”. A floral tribute left outside his home in The Row, Sutton, said: “To my dear neighbour Gary.
“A man who loved his family dearly, a dear friend to all, so helpful and kind and was always around as a friend and my little odd job man. I’m going to miss you.”
A further tribute said: “RIP Gary. Absolutely gutted.”
The force said post-mortem tests on the dead, who have not been formally identified, will take place at Peterborough City Hospital on Monday (3 April).
Detective Chief Superintendent Jon Hutchinson said on Thursday the “primary line of investigation” related to a “familial issue”. He said: “It’s been widely reported in the media that this may relate to a custody battle. I can confirm that is an active line of inquiry for us.”
A 27-year-old man and 33-year-old woman, who police say were from the local area, were arrested at a hotel just outside Cambridge. A 66-year-old man was arrested by armed police on the motorway in the Worcester area in the early hours of Thursday.
Detective Hutchinson said: “Following his arrest, his vehicle was searched and I can confirm we have recovered a firearm.” Police said earlier that white Peugeot 208 believed to have been used by the offender and a shotgun had been recovered.
He said an “active line of inquiry” is “understanding whether that firearm was legally owned”, adding that police are not currently looking for any further people in relation to the incident.
He explained: “A line of inquiry that we’re focusing on is that those people who are in custody are known to the deceased and have had recent contact with them”. He said forensic work was going on to establish if the same weapon was used at both locations.
The two people arrested at a hotel just outside Cambridge were “from the local area but we’re trying to identify where they have been staying in recent days”, he said, before adding: “The initial arrests have been made for conspiracy to murder – that is likely to change as information develops in the hours ahead”.
Neighbours near two semi-detached houses sealed off by murder detectives in Sutton described hearing gunshots and seeing armed police arrive shortly after.
Gordon Murray, who watched events unfold from his window, saw police cars “racing down” and armed police shouting on Wednesday evening. He said: “I saw the police cars racing down here. There was a lot of shouting. I thought it was an altercation or something. Then I saw the armed police. They were shouting something to the homeowners. That was it.”
Forensic officers in white suits worked at the scene on Thursday morning, with two bunches of flowers left on the drive and uniformed officers and a marked car beside blue-and-white police tape sealing off the homes.
Detective Inspector Mark Butler, from the major crime unit, said earlier on Thursday: “We have launched two linked murder investigations following the shootings of two men at separate properties in the county.
“These events will be shocking to local people and there will be understandable concerns within local communities, however, we are treating the attacks as targeted and there is no wider risk to the general public. There will be an increased police presence in the areas concerned today and officers and scenes of crime officers will be at the scenes throughout the day.
“Our thoughts also go out to the family and friends of the victims. Specially trained officers are in touch with them and they are helping our investigation. Detectives are now beginning inquiries into how these events unfolded and we are appealing to anyone who was in either area and saw anyone acting suspiciously or a white Peugeot 208.
“Any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could be very important to our investigation.”