Man in his 60s shot dead after intruders broke into his home
Burglars who shot dead a man in his 60s after breaking into his are being hunted by police.
The 61-year-old businessman was shot when at least two intruders broke into a detached house in the quiet village of St Ives near Ringwood, Dorset, on the outskirts of the New Forest at just before 3am on Sunday morning.
He was rushed to hospital where he was later pronounced dead. One other person was in the property at the time and is said to be "deeply traumatised" and being supported by officers.
The victim was named as Peter Hedger, known as Guy, who lived in the property with husband Simon-Pierre Hedger-Cooper, 48. The couple had been in a civil partnership for 12 years and had moved to Dorset from Brighton five years ago.
Mr Hedger was marketing director for an educational trust that runs three colleges and a primary school, while Mr Hedger-Cooper worked in the voluntary sector.
The 61-year-old had previously held positions at insurance company LV and Direct Line.
Police have launched a murder inquiry and are treating the break in as aggravated burglary. It is not thought that the gunmen were known to the victim.
Detective Superintendant Kevin Connolly said: "Police were called to the scene to reports that intruders attended a residential premises in Castlewood.
"Upon arrival, officers discovered a 61-year-old man had been shot. He was taken to hospital, but, tragically, he died.
"Subsequently, police launched a murder investigation, which is in the early stages."
Police said Mr Hedger's next-of-kin had been informed and requested privacy at this "deeply traumatic time".
Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Derbyshire said police do not believe Mr Hedger was known to the intruders, although all lines of inquiry are being pursued.
She said: "At this stage we are still trying to establish exactly what happened at the address in Castlewood and how and why the victim was shot dead.
"Currently we do not believe the offenders were known to the victim, however we continue to investigate all lines of inquiry."
The entire road, lined with large detached properties and many of which have gated entrances, remained cordoned off as a heavy police presence remained at the scene with forensic officers carefully gathering evidence.
Residents spoke of their shock and concern at being woken up in the middle of the night and seeing police helicopters circling in the air overhead.
"We have since launched a murder enquiry and we are trying to reach anybody with any information to come forward to help us.
"We are treating this as an aggravated burglary which resulted in the shooting of a innocent man and there were at least two intruders.
"The offenders we believe went in to steal and then subsequently shot an innocent man.
"There was somebody else present at the time. They have been deeply affected by the circumstances and are being supported by a family liaison officer.
"I appeal to anybody with any information to come forward, or if you were in the area at any time of the morning to come forward.
"We are working with ballistic experts. Upon the conclusion of their evaluation we'll know a lot more detail about the firearm.
"There's no reason for residents to be concerned. We are treating this as an isolated incident and will do our very best to catch the offenders and bring them to justice.
"We are conducting reassurance patrols to ensure people feel safe."
A police helicopter was called out around half-an-hour after the fatal shooting in an effort to track down the gunman.