A “much-loved” family man found dumped on a street with “potentially hazardous” substances on his body had been fatally shot and attacked with acid, Greater Manchester Police said.
Liam Smith was discovered on a residential street at around 7pm on Thursday (24 November) in Shevington, a suburb of Wigan. The 38-year-old’s body was found in Kilburn Avenue, Shevington, on rough ground between neighbouring houses which leads to a dirt track and open fields.
GMP said on Sunday (27 November) that is was investigating the death as a murder. In a statement the force explained: “Initial information indicates that the victim was subject of a fatal gunshot wound and an acid attack. Detectives are working tirelessly to establish the exact details of this murder, which took place in unique and shocking circumstances on a quiet residential street.
“Following examination and tests, the hazardous substances are believed to not pose any further harm, threat or risk to the public in the surrounding area and have been contained. A reminder, if anyone has had direct contact with the body at the time they should still speak to officers or seek medical advice immediately.”
Family play tribute to Liam Smith
In a brief statement released through Greater Manchester Police, his family said: “Liam was kind-hearted, funny, the life and soul of the party “He was the most devoted dad, much-loved son, brother, grandson and uncle. He will sorely be missed by all who knew and loved him.” His family have asked for privacy while they grieve.
A Home Office post-mortem examination has been carried out. No further information about the substances or the post-mortem has been released by police.
What have police said?
Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand from GMP’s Major Incident Team, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is a shocking murder of a much-loved family man.
“I have a team of detectives working around the clock and I urge anyone who has seen anything unusual or out of the ordinary near to the victim’s home during the day and early evening of Thursday November 24 to contact the major incident room. This is the first fatal shooting in the Manchester area for over two years and we are determined to recover the weapon and find Liam’s killer.”
The force warned members of the public not to approach or contact anyone they suspect of being involved in the offence, and urged anyone with information to contact them. “Specialist officers are taking precautions surrounding this incident and please do not be alarmed when they are seen in the area wearing protective clothing, as mentioned before this is purely precautionary as per the standard procedure at the scene,” GMP said.
Police urged anyone with information about the incident to contact the force. Members of the public can pass information to police through LiveChat or by calling 101 quoting incident number 000910 of 25/11/2022.
How have people reacted locally?
One resident told our sister title the Wigan Post: “I heard nothing, I fell asleep in front of the TV watching Coronation Street. I woke up because the police were knocking at my door asking if I’d seen or heard anything. I told them I hadn’t and they wouldn’t say what it was. I saw police vans and vehicles, but I thought it was an accident because it’s a blind turn onto the road and people are always flying up and down it.”
Another said: “My husband had just got back from a jazz event in Manchester and told me there was a police cordon on Kilburn. I had no idea, but I’ve been just to Shevington this morning there’s all sorts of rumours going around.
“My daughter called this morning to say that there is a tent near where there is a clearing between houses and they think they’ve found a body. I heard sirens and saw blue lights last night but I just thought they were passing on the main road.”
Another resident added: “I noticed police about at around 11pm and my daughter rang to check on me and tell me to put my alarm on.”
You can read more of the local coverage about the incident in Kilburn Drive, Shevington, on our sister website Wigan Today.