Salesman's death linked to vendetta

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

DETECTIVES investigating the shotgun murder of a Hertfordshire car salesman, believe it the "professional hit" may have been part of a criminal fraternity vendetta that stretched back into the victim's youth, writes James Cusick.

The dead man, Robert Magill, 44, was shot 'four or five times at close range' after being ambushed by two men was known to his friends as Bob. as he walked his Weimaraner dog at 8.20am two day ago, in a woodland area only near a few hundred yards from his home in Valley Road, Rickmansworth, on Wednesday morning.

Hertfordshire, two men, one armed with a shotgun, ambushed him. Mr Magill was shot "four or five times at close range" according to the police.

Yesterday detectives began to piece together details of the dead man's lifestyle and his business dealings for possible motives for his murder.

Cartridges from the shotgun blast have been recovered and are being examined by police forensic experts. Neighbours in the area have also helped police with descriptions of the two men who quickly fled Valley Road after the killing, possibly to a waiting car near junction 18 of the nearby M25.

Neighbours knew little of the background of Mr Magill, who lived with . Although the Valley Road suburb is a typically middle-class tree-lined area, Mr Magill, his wife Elaine and three , who have three children , lived in a in a converted concrete munitions store, dubbed 'Fort Knox' by some of his neighbours. Yesterday police officers at the gates of the house, added to the usual level of security which includes a heavily fenced boundary, electronically operated gates, television security cameras and hi-tech internal and external alarms. The house was purchased by the Magills 18 months ago. A Union Jack on a flagpole at top of house was another of its unusual features. Neighbours had dubbed the house "Fort Knox". But they knew nothing of Mr Magill's past. However, police said privately that 'Mr Magill was known to them.' He had a criminal record. that included violent crimes. such as grievous bodily harm. The former roofer who worked as a car salesman in Ruislip, west London, was said to have a reputation as 'a very hard man'.