Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Couple found dead after shots heard

A policeman guards the property where a man was found shot dead alongside his partner on the Moonrakers cul-de-sac in Devizes, Wiltshire

A man found shot dead alongside his female partner was a retired police inspector of 30 years' service, a detective has said.

The pair - William Dowling, known as Bill, and his partner Vicky - were found dead at a property in Devizes, Wiltshire, after neighbours alerted the police having heard gunshots. Police confirmed they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

Neighbours on the 50-property cul-de-sac described their shock, with one recalling how Mr Dowling had an interest in shooting pheasants. The neighbour, who asked not to be named, said he believed Mr Dowling had a firearms licence.

He said: "I have known him for more than a decade and he was into shooting. I'd seen him load what looked like a big gun case into his car a few times, I think he went pheasant shooting. It was a big gun - it looked like it could've been a shotgun or something. He had long had an interest in shooting but over the last couple of months I saw him in his shooting gear a lot more."

The neighbour added: "It just doesn't make sense. They were a lovely couple, and he had recently spent a lot of money doing up the house."

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders said the bodies were discovered inside the porch on the Moonrakers estate. He said of the victims: "We understand him to be a retired police officer - he retired some five years ago from Wiltshire Police Service. The female was not the wife of the retired officer, she is his partner. We have recovered a weapon from the scene. My working assumption is that weapons were discharged and the victims had sustained some form of gunshot wounds."

Post-mortem examinations will also be carried out later.

One woman who lived near Mr Dowling said she thought she heard "a loud bang" on her door. "I didn't really think too much of it, so I went out to the shops," she said. "It was only a few hours later when I had a call from my son to come home that I put two and two together and realised what had happened."

She said Mr Dowling lived alone at the two-storey property, but was regularly visited by his partner. The neighbour said: "People always say this, but they were both lovely, nice people. He was very friendly, would say hello and ask how we were. He was a good neighbour, and she seemed very friendly too. I just can't believe what has happened."

It is understood police were called after a neighbour made the grim discovery, when he noticed blood splattered on a road-facing ground-floor window. Police are this afternoon keeping guard at the entrance to Mr Dowling's garden at the front of the house, while forensic work is being undertaken beneath a tent positioned at the front of the terraced building.

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