Eight arrested in post office murder hunt

By Katie Dawson,Danielle Dwyer,Press Association
Tuesday 13 January 2009 09:54

Five men and three women were arrested today in connection with the murder of a sub-postmaster's son during an armed robbery.

The suspects were detained early this morning over the fatal shooting of Craig Hodson-Walker, who was gunned down as he tried to fend off masked robbers at his family's post office in Fairfield, Worcestershire.

West Mercia Constabulary said four people were arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder while the other four were being questioned on suspicion of assisting an offender.

The suspects were arrested from six addresses across south Birmingham in an operation involving more than 100 police officers.

Mr Hodson-Walker, 29, was shot in the chest on Friday morning as he tried to protect his parents, Ken and Judy, both 56, at Fairfield Post Office and Stores.

His father was shot in the leg during the attack and remains in a stable condition in hospital.

Speaking at the scene, Superintendent Adrian Pass said: "The early morning arrests, made at six addresses across south Birmingham, involved more than 100 officers from both West Mercia Constabulary and West Midlands Police.

"Those arrested are currently being held at police stations across the West Mercia and West Midlands force areas.

"We would like to express their thanks to the public and the media for their information and co-operation so far during this ongoing operation."

The Post Office has offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mr Hodson-Walker's killers.

The shooting happened at about 8.20am on Friday when three men, wearing balaclavas and armed with a handgun and sledgehammer, burst into the store.

A fourth man, the driver who also had his face covered, waited with a silver Volkswagen Golf outside.

They fled the scene in the car, which was stolen from Solihull on New Year's Eve and had false number plates.

The vehicle was found abandoned in a lane near the shop shortly after the shooting.

A post-mortem examination confirmed that Mr Hodson-Walker died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

The shooting sent shockwaves through the quiet rural village of Fairfield, which is close to the M5 and M42 motorways.

Mr Pass added: "We understand the impact this incident has had on the local community and I would like to assure them that we shall continue with our high-visibility patrols in the area.

"We firmly believe that everyone living or working in north Worcestershire should be able to go about their business without feeling fearful and we hope that they will feel reassured by this morning's arrests."

He stressed the investigation was still in its early stages and urged anyone with information to continue to come forward.

Mr Hodson-Walker had recently become engaged to teaching assistant Lisa Bundy.

Miss Bundy, from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, has described her fiance as her "soulmate and best friend".

Car enthusiast Mr Hodson-Walker was born in Cardiff and spent his early years living in Barry, South Wales.

The family later moved to Cornwall and then to the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, where they lived for 17 years.

They moved to Bromsgrove to take over the post office in Fairfield in October 2003.