Two men killed in gun drama at travellers’ site

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A 38-year-old man has been arrested and bailed after two men were shot and killed, and a car torched, on a traveller’s site in Beck Row.

Armed police were called at around 10.15pm on Tuesday after reports of gunshots.

They found the body of one man on the driveway to Willow Park and fire crews discovered the body of a second man after they were called to deal with a blazing car.

A caravan and a trailer were also involved in the fire at the Irish traveller site. Nearby families were evacuated because of the risk from gas canisters at the scene.

Both men were dead and had gunshot wounds to their bodies. Their identities are still unknown.

A resident from a nearby housing estate said: “I was laying down watching TV when I heard a couple of shots – bang, bang – then it stopped, then – bang, bang – about eight times.”

As a father of two young children, he said the killings had come too soon after a shooting incident last month, when a vehicle was shot at on the same site – five men were arrested and bailed in connection with that incident.

He said: “The more I thought about it today the more I worried about retaliation – I don’t want a stray bullet going through my window. I think we’ll be moving – it’s just not worth it.”

Another resident said she had heard several loud bangs on the night of the shootings but was watching a news feature on the hostile situation in Libya and had assumed the sounds had come from her television.

Later, from an upstairs window, she had seen the fire coming from the Willow Park site. “It was massive, above the trees,” she said.

She added: “I think a lot of us are very concerned around here because we’re not getting answers and it’s happened before. It’s a bit scary even going into our back garden, it’s awful. It comes as quite a shock when something like this happens.”

A police cordon at Willow Park remained in place on Wednesday while detectives from the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Teams carried out investigations.

On Wednesday the torched car was loaded on to a recovery vehicle, to be examined more closely. As it was being driven away it set fire to the vehicle’s tarpaulin cover and burned a large hole in one side.

Speaking from the scene of the murders on Wednesday afternoon, Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said it was unclear whether Tuesday’s shootings were related to those last month but that inquiries had led police to believe that the local community were not at risk.

He said: “We believe it relates to an ongoing, specific dispute. I don’t believe the broad community are in danger or should be in further fear but there will be an increased police presence for obvious reasons.”

He added: “This is a complex inquiry, it’s fast moving. Clearly we will look at any incidents going back as far as necessary to see if there’s any relation to any other incidents.

“If we can establish the identity of the two men who died last night it will help to fit this jigsaw together.”

Armed police continue to be seen in Beck Row and Mildenhall and Safer Neighbourhood Teams are making door-to-door inquiries.

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said: “Having spoken to the police, I am reassured that the crimes will be fully investigated and everything will be done to ensure that the killers are pursued with the full force of the law and brought to justice”.

As a matter of course, because of previous police involvement at the site, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has been notified of Tuesday’s shootings.

– A 38-year-old man arrested after the shootings has been bailed to return to a police station in Suffolk on April 29.