Police have renewed an appeal for information about the murder of notorious criminal John “Goldfinger” Palmer, hoping changes in underworld allegiances will lead to the case being solved.
Officers originally thought Palmer had died of natural causes because of recent keyhole surgery to his chest but it later emerged he had been shot six times at close range.
Palmer – once described as Britain’s richest criminal and thought to have been worth £300 million – was found dead in the garden of his remote woodland home in South Weald, Essex, on June 24 2015.
His partner Christina Ketley previously said she believes he was “stalked like an animal” by a suspected hitman who is thought to have scratched a spyhole in his garden fence before shooting him.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings told Sky News that in the weeks before Palmer’s death, he and 10 others were charged over real estate fraud and were due to stand trial in Spain.
There was unsubstantiated speculation Palmer was seeking a deal with prosecutors to have charges dropped, Mr Jennings said.
Police have renewed their appeal for information following the conclusion of the trial and sentencing.
“In the last year there have been significant developments and events within the criminal underworld that may now mean people who have information may feel able to come forward,” Mr Jennings said.
An inquest in 2016 heard there were “failings on behalf of Essex Police” and concluded Palmer was unlawfully killed.
The murder happened in the only part of Palmer’s garden not covered by CCTV.
Police believe the killer watched Palmer until he went to make a bonfire to burn some old documents, then jumped over the fence.
Palmer, who gained his nickname after being acquitted of handling gold bullion in the £26 million Brink’s-Mat raid in 1983, had associated with some of the people convicted over the £14 million Hatton Garden raid in 2015.