Police have released a photo of the motorcyclist shot dead on the M40 on Sunday which shows him wearing a Hells Angels T-shirt.
During a press conference yesterday, Warwickshire Police formally identified the victim as Gerard Michael Tobin, a 35-year-old mechanic from south London.
Tobin was a Canadian who had spent the last 10 years living in the UK and worked for Warr's Harley-Davidson in London. Police said it appeared he was of good character.
He was shot at around 2.20pm between junctions 12 and 13 of the M40 southbound near Leamington Spa. He had earlier attended the Bulldog Bash at Long Marston Airfield near Stratford.
Superintendent Ken Lawrence, senior investigator on the case, said a green Rover 620 had been waiting in a layby just before junction 15 on the A46 northbound. As Tobin passed with two other riders, the car pulled out and followed the motorcycles onto the M40, Lawrence said.
Lawrence said it appeared the car ignored the other two motorcycles, accelerating past them to pull alongside Tobin. Two shots are believed to have been fired, one of which struck Tobin in the back of the head just below his crash helmet.
Lawrence said the motorcycle continued for 200 yards after Tobin fell off.
The force showed a replica of the suspect car, along with a replica of the motorcycle Tobin had been riding, a Harley-Davidson FXSTB Night Train with distinctive paintwork on either side of the tank.
Lawrence said the nature of the attack suggested Tobin had been deliberately targeted. He said the killing appeared not to be linked to any event at the Bulldog Bash but could be related to a longer-running feud (See video).
Lawrence said: “Travelling at speed on the motorway, you’d have to either be an extremely good shot or it would be a matter of chance.” Asked if it could be a contract killing, he said: “Every possibility is being considered.”
“Clearly the events I’ve described suggest some planning,” said Lawrence. “From witnesses we’ve spoken to it seems likely that the intended victim was always Gerard Tobin.”
He added: “A key part for us right now is to identify why this happened and to identify a motive. Clearly from the events I’ve described to you it appears a motive does exist.”
He said officers were looking again at a similar incident in which three bikers were shot at on the M40 as they left the Bulldog Bag six years ago. That shooting was non-fatal. One rider, also a Canadian, was treated after being hit in the leg. No-one was charged with the shooting.
Lawrence said: “We’re comparing it to that incident and reviewing that incident.”
Lawrence said the force had received over 200 calls from the public offering information on Sunday’s shooting but appealed for to come forward.
Anyone with information should call Warwickshire Police’s incident room on 01926 415581 or anonymously through CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111.
Get MCN today today to read an interview with a friend of Tobin’s who says he was a Bulldog Bash organiser.