Man's body dumped at sea after 'gang execution'

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The Independent Online

A businessman whose body was recovered from the sea with gunshot wounds may have been the victim of a gangland-style execution, police said yesterday.

A businessman whose body was recovered from the sea with gunshot wounds may have been the victim of a gangland-style execution, police said yesterday.

The body of Jonathan Bristo, 39, was found floating off docks at Sheerness in Kent, a week after he went missing.

A post-mortem revealed the victim had died from gunshot wounds, but police are not disclosing how many times he was injuried and in which parts of the body.

The fully clothed corpse was recovered on Friday after several members of the public spotted a body close to the shore. Details of the killing were only released yesterday because police had trouble locating the dead man's parents.

Mr Bristo was last seen on the morning of 4 August and may have been in the water for up to a seven days.

Detective Chief Inspector Julian Hyrycz, who is leading the murder hunt, said one line of inquiry was whether Mr Bristo, a small businessman who lived in a bedsit above the Chequered Flag pub in Chatham, Kent, was executed.

He said: "I cannot exclude this could be an execution-style killing - it does have the hallmarks of that, but I cannot be sure.

"We do not know if Mr Bristo had somehow upset somebody to the extent they would want to murder him over a business interest or otherwise."

Police believe Mr Bristo had a business interest in the Chequered Flat, and also ran a small company in Medway called SEC, which specialised in cleaning sewers.

One relative yesterday described the dead man, who is divorced with two children, as a "lovable rogue", and the police said he was "very well-known" in the area.

Det Ch Insp Hyrycz, who has 20 officers on the case, said: "Generally most people who are murdered know their killer. This does not mean family necessarily, but we have very few stranger killings."

Mr Bristo was last seen at the Chequered Flag, which was sealed off yesterday as police searched it for clues.

Det Ch Insp Hyrycz said: "We do not know where he was killed, and cannot assume he was at the pub. His body was found off Sheerness. We are carrying out forensic tests. The tide in the estuary could have carried his body for miles."

Mr Bristo's cousin, Michael Bristow, 33, said last night: "Jonathan was very reliable and a family man whom I last saw at a family funeral. Of all the family, he was certainly the black sheep and we knew he tended to mix with the wrong crowd.

"But he was a good man and he didn't deserve to be killed in this brutal way."

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