The police watchdog will not directly investigate how officers failed to notice that a notorious gangland figure found dead in his garden had been shot six times by a professional hitman.
John “Goldfinger” Palmer, a convicted timeshare fraudster and career criminal, was believed for six days to have died from natural causes until a post-mortem examination found that he had suffered multiple gunshot wounds at his Essex home.
The blunder was described by Palmer’s family as “ridiculous” and prompted fears that the delay in beginning a murder investigation had drastically reduced the chances of catching his killer.
But the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would not be launching a full investigation into the incident and had referred the inquiry into how the killing was missed back to Essex Police.
In a statement, the IPCC said: “Following an assessment of the evidence provided, it has been recommended that the matter should be investigated locally by the police force.
“This decision is based on the fact that there was no evidence of immediate police contact with Mr Palmer before his death, or identifiable conduct issues from the officers who attended the scene that would require the ongoing involvement of the IPCC.”
Palmer, 64, was found in the garden of his home in South Weald on 24 June. His killer had cut a hole in a fencing panel and used a gun firing bullets designed to cause maximum damage inside the body.
It was initially believed that the career criminal, who earned his nickname from his alleged connection with the Brinks-Mat bullion robbery at Heathrow in 1983, had died from a heart attack and that injuries on his body were due to recent surgery.
But Palmer’s brother Malcolm said the family failed to see how multiple gunshot wounds had been missed. “It’s just ridiculous,” he said.
“I can’t understand how two paramedics were down there, and the police, and didn’t find anything,” he said. “They have cocked up somewhere terrible. Meanwhile, all the evidence is disappearing.”Reuse content