An Essex gunman on the run from police is now East Anglia’s most wanted man, with detectives appealing for friends and family of travelling communities in Suffolk to contact officers.
Francis O’Donoghue is the subject of an Essex Police manhunt following a shooting on a travellers’ site off Goatswood Lane, in Navestock, at 3.30pm on August 27.
Two men in their 20s, from the Brentwood area, sustained gunshot wounds to their legs and chest and underwent surgery. The shooting was the culmination of an ongoing neighbour feud which began outside a shop in Harold Wood (East London) earlier that day.
The investigation is gathering pace with public sightings providing detectives with numerous leads. Detectives have not ruled out the possibility that O’Donoghue has been in contact with family and friends in East Anglia so are appealing for them to contact Essex Police.
A nationwide appeal was recently made on Crimewatch. A few hours before the BBC programme aired, a 28-year-old man from North London was arrested by armed police in Navestock on suspicion of assisting an offender. He was released on police bail until late October, pending further enquiries.
Supt Trevor Roe, of Essex Police, said: “Francis O’Donoghue is not only Essex’s number one priority arrest, but he is East Anglia’s with all our neighbouring forces on alert to find him. People living and working in Suffolk could play a key role in helping us arrest him.
“He is potentially in possession of a handgun so everyone can see the necessity for him to be taken off the streets. With this in mind, we need the community’s eyes and ears and urge them to call us with sightings so that we can act on the information and detain him.
“The support we have so far received from the public in England has been fantastic and we now expand this appeal for help to those living and working across the Essex border to provide us with the leads which will lead to Francis’ arrest.”
Police say there is nothing to suggest people in the wider community are at risk of being injured, but have warned them to avoid any physical contact with O’Donoghue, a 27-year-old glazier, as he may be in possession of a handgun.
Anyone coming into contact with him is urged to call police immediately.
O’Donoghue is described as white, approximately 5ft 11ins tall, of medium build, with short-brown hair and protruding ears.
Anyone with information in connection with the shooting should contact detectives at Harlow’s Major Investigation Team on 01279 621802, email them on SCDappeals@essex.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
Anyone who knows of O’Donoghue’s whereabouts is urged to call 999.