Police believed a notorious gangster had died of natural causes, an inquest into his death has heard, even though he had been shot six times in the chest.
John Palmer, nicknamed Goldfinger, was gunned down in his own garden this summer. Police originally believed he had died at his Essex countryside mansion, worth £800,000, after suffering from complications related to gall bladder surgery.
However, he had actually been shot at point blank range with an 8mm silenced hand gun. Essex police say there are 16,000 suspects in the “contract killing” and they are no closer to finding the killer or killers.
A post mortem was ordered and a pathologist found gunshot wounds. Two police officers have now been subject to disciplinary action after failing to properly search the body. Detectives say they are still investigating Mr Palmer’s connections in the underworld in a bid to solve the shooting, which they say would have taken months to plan.
Officers believe that links to a huge property fraud, which had 16,000 victims, the infamous Hatton Garden Robbery or the Brink’s Mat raid on Healthrow could have provided motives for the shooting. The gangster was alleged to have melted down gold worth £26 million from the 1983 raid at Heathrow, which is why he got the moniker Goldfinger.
Mr Palmer was facing trial for real estate fraud in Spain next year and police think that his murder could be connected. Officers say that his lifestyle and previous criminal involvements mean the murder investigation is extensive and complex. There are currently understood to be 700 different lines of inquiry and witness statements have been taken from more than 200 people.
While he had never been convicted of the Brink’s Mat raid, it was widely believed he was connected, and a number of people who were involved have since been killed in contract shootings.