Retired policeman and his partner found dead

 

A retired police inspector and his partner were found shot dead in his home in a suspected murder-suicide.

The bodies of Bill Dowling and his partner, known only as Vicky, were found by neighbours in the glass porch of the former officer’s house on Saturday. Neighbours alerted by the sound of gunshots went to the property on the Moonrakers estate in Devizes, Wiltshire to find blood splattered on the porch windows, and the bodies slumped inside.

Locals said Mr Dowling had a firearms licence and used to go pheasant shooting.

A neighbour who lives opposite told how she had heard two loud noises on the morning of the shooting “I heard a bang and thought it was the back door,” she told the Wiltshire Times.

According to the woman, who asked not to be named, other neighbours living next door to Mr Dowling’s had heard arguing which sounded like furniture being moved.

Mr Dowling, believed to be in his 60s, worked for the police for 30 years before leaving the force five years ago. It is understood he then took a job with the Ministry of Defence.

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, 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: “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.”

A police spokesman said today that a post-mortem examination would be carried out.

Detective Chief Inspector Saunders said that the other victim of the shooting was Mr Dowling’s partner, after it was initially reported that she was his ex-wife.

Another neighbour of Mr Dowling told how he lived alone in his two-storey property, but was regularly visited by his partner.

They were both lovely, nice people,” she said. “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.”

The shooting is the second shooting to take place in Devizes in the last six months.

In July last year a solicitor, James Ward, 58, was shot dead in his office and later died from his injuries.

But Chief Inspector Mark Sellers, from Wiltshire Police, assured residents today:  “I would like to reiterate that this is an isolated incident and reassure members of the community that Devizes is a safe place.”

Detective Chief Inspector Saunders added: “The investigation continues to try and establish what led to this tragic incident.”

This afternoon police were keeping guard at the entrance to Mr Dowling’s garden at the front of the house, while forensic work was being undertaken in a tent at the front of the terraced building.

Wiltshire Police said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms