Sandwich bar magnate shot in 'contract killing'

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The Independent Online

Police were searching yesterday for the killer of a wealthy businessman who was found dead at his home in Surrey, in what is being treated as an execution-style murder.

Mario Commatteo, 48, was found dead by his son shortly before 8am on Thursday at his £200,000bungalow in Whyteleafe Hill near Caterham, Surrey. He had one bullet wound to the head.

A neighbour said that Mr Commatteo's partner, Angela Bristow, had become concerned when he failed to arrive on time at the bakery near by that the couple ran, with a flourishing sandwich shop in Merstham.

"She rang home trying to contact him and when she got no reply, sent her son to see what had happened," the neighbour said. "As he approached the house, he saw his father lying dead inside and contacted his mother."

Doreen Hebben, 71, who lives next door, said she had heard a loud bang between 5am and 6am. "It sounded like a gun but then I thought maybe someone had dropped something," she said. "The police came round later and asked me if I had seen anyone strange approaching the house next door or whether I heard an argument. All I could tell them was about the bang."

Detectives have sealed off the area around the bungalow and part of Kenley Common, which backs on to the property. Police, who said they were treating the case as murder,are appealing for information on a red car parked outside the house on Thursday morning.

The parents of the Italian-born victim, Antonio and Rosa who live in Cardiff, have been informed and police are trying to contact Mr Commatteo's sister and five brothers.

Friends described Mr Commatteo as a friendly and ambitious man who was keen to expand his business.

John Walton, who runs an army surplus store a few doors away from the sandwich shop in Merstham, said: "Mario was a great guy and the perfect person to front a business."

Mr Walton said he believed Mr Commatteo had recently started another business venture with a partner in Wisborough Green, West Sussex.