11/08/2004

Identities of Lincolnshire murder victims released

Lincolnshire police have released the identities of the couple who were murdered in Trusthorpe last Sunday.

The two victims have been named as John Stirland, 55, and Joan Stirland, 53. Mr and Mrs Stirland had lived in Trusthorpe for six months after moving on from the Nottinghamshire area.

The couple, who died of gunshot wounds, were found in their Sutton Road bungalow on Sunday evening. Police are awaiting the results of ballistic and forensic tests.

Detectives are probing the possibility that the Stirlands were killed in a revenge hit for a murder carried out by Mrs Stirland's son, Michael O'Brien.

O'Brien was convicted and sentenced to life in prison at Nottingham Crown Court last month for murdering Marvyn Bradshaw. In a case of mistaken identity, 22-year-old Bradshaw was shot dead outside the Sporting Chance bar in Nottingham on August 30 2003.

Detective Superintendent Graham White, who is leading the investigation, said that while it was too early to confirm a link, officers were working closely with Nottinghamshire Police.

Witnesses have reported seeing a mid-sized dark coloured saloon car parked close to the murder scene with its hazard warning lights flashing on Sunday afternoon. Two men wearing blue boiler suits or overalls were seen in the vicinity of the car and the murder scene.

A dark coloured Volkwagon Passat was subsequently found burnt out on Crawford Lane, in Hannah Cum Hagnaby.

Police have appealed to businesses, organisations and individuals who have CCTV footage or videotapes covering the Trusthorpe, Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Alford areas to come forward.

(gmcg)

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