Police fear revenge attack after M40 shooting

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Police investigating the shooting of a Hells Angel on the M40 have said they fear there could be revenge attacks.

Warwickshire Police said today it was highly unlikely Gerard Tobin was shot by another Hells Angel due to the group’s strict codes. The force said rival motorcycle gangs were being investigated.

Gerard Tobin, 35, was shot dead on Sunday while returning from the Bulldog Bash at Long Marston Airfield near Stratford. Police confirmed for the first time today that Tobin had been a member of the Hells Angels.

They said they were now sure two shots were fired from a car which pulled alongside Tobin between junctions 12 and 13 of the southbound carriageway at around 2.20pm. One bullet struck Tobin in the back of the head, just below his crash helmet.

Detective Superintendent Ken Lawrence, senior investigator on the case, said he was “concerned there may be reprisals”. He said: “I would be astonished if this was another Hells Angel because the code they live with is a fairly strict code.”

He added that he was “fairly sure from circumstances it didn’t stem from a random attack” and that rival motorcycle gangs were being looked at. “There are numerous groups around the country,” he said. “Part of the investigation is researching those groups.”

He said: “It would be wrong if I said the Hells Angels were being open about it,” adding: “I understand their position but my job is to investigate this murder.”

Gerard Tobin was a Canadian national who had spent the last 10 years in the UK and lived in south London. He worked as mechanic at Warr’s Harley-Davidson in London.

Gerard Tobin’s girlfriend, 25-year-old Rebecca Smith, paid a moving tribute to him in a statement read out by the president of the London Chapter of the Hell’s Angels. It said: “He was a rare breed of man with a heart of a lion and soul filled with compassion and selflessness… He lived for the people that were close to him. His membership of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was a natural extension of his passion for motorcycles, motorcycling and those people who shared his passion. He was Rebecca’s sole mate and she feels truly blessed to have spent five years of her life – the best five years of her life – with such a wonderful man.”  

Lawrence said the investigation had made good progress and that a dedicated team of officers were examining CCTV images, photographs and forensic evidence. He said 60 officers were working on the case in Warwickshire alone.

The force appealed for anyone with information to call the incident room on 01926 415581, email on incidentroom@warwickshire.police.uk or phone CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111. 


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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell