Man shot while sitting in cafe

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A MAN was in a critical condition in hospital last night after he was shot in the head as he sat with his wife in a cafe.

Just after noon yesterday, Michael McCarthy, 45, of Wickford, near Basildon, Essex, was sitting with his wife, Beverley, in her father's cafe in the town when the gunman came in through a back door, walked up to Mr McCarthy and shot him twice with a handgun. One bullet hit him in the head, the other is thought to have missed. Police found both cartridges.

The man swore at Mr McCarthy before shooting him and walking out of the front door, according to one of about a dozen other customers present.

Police were still seeking a motive for the shooting, but a spokeswoman said that it was 'not random'. 'He had a target and went for him. There's no suggestion that the victim and his wife recognised the gunman,' she said.

Detectives were last night trying to contact customers who were in Rebel's Cafe, Runwell Road, at the time, and anyone who was visiting the newsagent's and general store next door. They are also anxious to trace the driver of a red Mark 3 Ford Escort seen leaving the scene.

The gunman is described as aged 50 to 60, about 5ft 6in, with grey hair and a darkish complexion. He was wearing a three-quarter length padded jacket.