The murder of gangster John “Goldfinger” Palmer was probably given the go ahead by Britain’s most senior crime bosses, police believe.
He was shot dead in the grounds of his mansion in 2015 by a contract killer who detectives suspect was acting on the orders of a rival villain.
Palmer, 65, was murdered in the week he was told he would stand trial in Spain over claims of timeshare fraud, money-laundering and firearms offences.
There was speculation in the underworld he was offering to inform on other criminals in return for having the charges dropped.
While there was no evidence the rumours were true, they may have led to the killing.
Some of his associates were jailed this week after the fraud trial.
The case closing means underworld figures may now be ready to spill the beans.
Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, leading the probe for the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “In my experience of organised crime, John’s level in the criminal underworld may have required a sign-off or agreement with those that sit at the top of the criminal fraternity, but there’s nothing to substantiate that…
“He’s always been the subject of speculation in relation to: his 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.
“In the last year there have been significant developments in the underworld that mean people with information may now feel able to come forward.
“There is always nervousness in the underworld when a trial looms. Now [the fraud trial in Spain] has concluded people may feel they can talk to us.”
A £100,000 reward remains on offer. After the killing in South Weald, Essex, police initially failed to spot Palmer had been shot six times.
Officers firstly put his death down to natural causes, with the wounds thought to be due to recent surgery.
It is thought the killer watched Palmer through a spyhole in his fence, then climbed over and shot him.
One suspect was arrested but not charged, another was questioned but not arrested. Det Supt Jennings said: “There are a number of key individuals we have looked at and are still looking at as part of the investigation.”
Palmer earned the nickname Goldfinger after smelting down gold from the £26million Brink’s-Mat robbery in 1983.
Police have probed murders he has been linked to including the killing of expats Billy and Flo Robinson who were found dead near their home in Tenerife in 2006. They had worked for Palmer.
Source: Read Full Article