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Villagers left reeling after violent death of kind hearted dad in quiet street

LancsLive logo LancsLive 28/11/2022 Sophie Halle-Richards & Chantelle Heeds

A 'quiet sleepy village' has been left rocked by the murder of a 'devoted dad' who was found shot and attacked with acid.

The body was discovered on Kilburn Drive, in Shevington, on Thursday (November 24) at around 7pm. It has since been identified as 38-year-old Liam Smith.

Initial findings from a Home Office post-mortem suggest the local dad had suffered a fatal gunshot wound and been the victim of an acid attack. Detectives have since launched a murder investigation and a huge police cordon blocks off the street.

READ MORE: Wigan murder victim Liam Smith found dead in street was shot and suffered acid attack

In a tribute, Mr Smith's devastated family described him as 'kind hearted,' 'funny' and 'the life and soul of the party.' "He was the most devoted dad," they added.

Investigators dressed in hazmat suits were seen combing the street for evidence on Sunday afternoon. Residents on the street have expressed their shock over the incident, saying that it's usually 'quiet'.

One man who lives on Kilburn Drive told the M.E.N: "You never dream of anything like this happening here. It's so quiet usually and we are all just shocked.

"We didn't hear anything at all on Thursday night. We heard all the police sirens but nothing before that. A policeman came round about 11pm to interview us. It's such a violent crime it's awful."

Liam Smith © GMP Liam Smith

Another woman who lives on the street, told the MEN: "In the whole 13 years I've lived here I've never known anything like it. It's very frightening and sad.

"I didn't know the man but I'd recognise him if I saw him on the street. We didn't know anything about it all until my husband came back and said there were lots of police. It's such a quiet sleepy village usually."

Another resident, who lives nearby, said: "We heard all the sirens at about 8pm. There were police, ambulance and fire engines so we thought it was a fire at first.

"We couldn't believe it when we heard what happened. It's usually very quiet in Wigan in general but especially around here. It's awful. Very sad."

The police cordon on Kilburn Drive has been up since Thursday night and is expected to remain in place until today (November 28) at the earliest.

Despite initially urging anyone who had direct contact with the body at the time to speak to officers or seek medical advice immediately, police have since reassured that the hazardous substances found on Mr Smith's body are not believed to pose any further harm, threat or risk to the public in the area and have been contained.

Regulars at the local village pub also expressed their shock after hearing about what had happened on Kilburn Drive. One man, who lives on nearby Shevington Lane, said: "Everyone I've spoken to says he was a decent lad and not mixed up in anything. Everyone is really shocked it's such a quiet area to live, nothing like this ever happens."

Police on Kilburn Drive in Wigan © MEN Police on Kilburn Drive in Wigan

Another resident said: "I don't know anything other than hearing the sirens. There were emergency services parked all the way down Kilburn Drive on Thursday night.

"It's just a complete shock and very frightening to be honest. The only sirens you hear usually are the ones passing through it's usually so quiet. I don't know the guy but it's very sad."

Members of the public are being urged not to approach or contact anyone they suspect of being involved in the offence. Anyone with information is instead asked to contact GMP if they witness something or have witnessed anything unusual, including between the times of 8am and 7pm on Thursday, on Kilburn Drive.

Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand from GMP’s Major Incident Team, who is leading this investigation, said: "This is a shocking murder of a much-loved family man.

"I have a team of detectives working around the clock and I urge anyone who has seen anything unusual or out of the ordinary near to the victim’s home during the day and early evening of Thursday, November 24, to contact the Major Incident Room.

The scene on Kilburn Drive in Shevington © MEN The scene on Kilburn Drive in Shevington

"This is the first fatal shooting in the Manchester area for over two years and we are determined to recover the weapon and find Liam’s killer."

Specialist officers are taking precautions surrounding this incident and residents are urged not to be alarmed when they are seen in the area wearing protective clothing, as this is purely precautionary as per the standard procedure at the scene.

Paying tribute to him, Mr Smith's family said in a brief statement yesterday: "Liam was kind hearted, funny, the life and soul of the party. He was the most devoted dad, much loved son, brother, grandson and uncle. He will sorely be missed by all who knew and loved him."

Any details should be passed via the LiveChat function on gmp.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 910 of November 25, 2022.

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