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Essex Police mark Goldfinger murder anniversary with fresh appeal

Essex Police have renewed attempts to find the killer of notorious criminal John Palmer. Palmer was killed in the grounds of his home five years ago by a contract hitman.

Essex Police have used the fifth anniversary of John Palmer’s murder to appeal to criminals who have information about the case to come forward.

Palmer, nicknamed Goldfinger because of his links to the 1983 Brinks-Mat bullion robbery, was shot six times in the grounds of his mansion in South Weald, Essex on 24 June 2015.

Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, urged people in criminal gangs to come forward.

Until now, gangland figures who know why Palmer was killed have not come forward because of allegiances. Five years on, DC Jennings said loyalties may have changed.

The case has been challenging for Essex Police to solve because of the sheer volume of people who had a motive to kill Palmer.

He was due to stand trial for real estate fraud in Tenerife and his estimated £300m fortune had largely been accrued through timeshare fraud that had affected 17,000 people.

Essex Police have examined 700 lines of inquiry.

Among them are rumours that he was linked to the 2015 Hatton Garden jewellery vault raid. Others believe he was killed to prevent him accepting a plea-bargain deal at his trial in Tenerefe that would have involved him revealing his criminal associates who were involved.

Palmer was illiterate and was known to have kept recordings of his activities that would have offered a vast amount of information to multiple police forces had they been able to obtain them.

DCI Jennings said much of the speculation had turned out to be false: “"There has always been speculation and rumour within the media and underworld about Mr Palmer's connection to organised criminals; specific high-profile crimes; that he was a police informant; and that charges brought against him in Spain were about to be dropped.

"Over the years a number of these rumours have been found to be untrue or based wholly in speculation.”

The difficulties in solving the case have been complicated by the fact that his death was not initially treated as a murder. A post-mortem carried out after his death had concluded he had died of natural causes because of recent keyhole surgery.

It was only later discovered he had been shot six times in a part of his property not covered by CCTV cameras.

A forensic search discovered spy hole in a wooden boundary fence from where police believe the killer watched Palmer’s movements in the days leading up to his death.

DCI Jennings urged gangland figures to cooperate: "Five years is a long time for John's family to be left without answers and without anyone facing justice for his cold-blooded murder.

"In the years since his death a lot has changed, particularly within the underworld. We know that the key to solving Mr Palmer's murder lies within the underworld. Loyalties do change and people may now feel able to come forward."

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