A REWARD of £50,000 has been offered to anyone who catches the hitman who killed notorious Solihull gangster John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer.
Essex Police originally believed the 65-year-old died of natural causes but it was later discovered he had been shot six times and the killing had all the ‘hallmarks’ of a ‘professional hit’.
It was rumoured Palmer, whose wealth rivalled the Queen’s at an estimated £300 million, was shot because of his links to the Hatton Garden heist where £14 million worth of jewels were taken from safety deposit boxes.
He was found dead in the garden of his country South Weald mansion in Essex, on June 24 – two months after the raid and a month after nine men were arrested.
An Essex police spokesman said they were aware of speculation over Palmer speaking to law enforcement agencies about previous criminal connections and of rumours of his links to other organised criminal activity such as the Hatton Garden robbery.
He added: “We cannot comment on the truth of many of these rumours.
“Although if people in the criminal underworld believed them then it is entirely possible that this led to someone commissioning a professional hit on him.”
Palmer, who was one of seven children and a former scrap metal dealer from Olton, got his ‘Goldfinger’ name from his association with the 1983 Brink’s-Mat robbery at Heathrow Airport.
A massive haul of £25 million worth of gold was stolen making it, at the time, the biggest robbery to have taken place in Britain. He was cleared of handling stolen goods but the nickname stuck.
Palmer, known for his significant criminal history across Europe, was also due to stand trial in Spain for property fraud.
Before his death it is believed he had been burning rubbish in his garden when the killer came over a fence and shot him with a handgun.
He managed to stagger a short distance towards the house before collapsing and being found by his son’s girlfriend at around 5.30pm.
No gun shots were not heard and the murder took place in an area not covered by CCTV.
Footage (pictured) has now been released of Palmer in his garden around ten to 12 minutes before the murder.
DCI Stephen Jennings appeared on BBC’s Crimewatch to appeal for help to identify some men seen near Palmer’s home.
He said Jennings police were convinced it was a professional hit and they were now searching not just for the gunman but for the person(s) who commissioned his murder.
Anyone with any information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.