A BRITISH executive for the oil company ExxonMobil has been shot dead in front of his wife in an assassination-style killing in Brussels.
Belgian police have imposed a news blackout after Nicholas Mockford (60) was shot as he left an Italian restaurant in Neder-over-Heembeek, a suburb of the capital.
The executive was shot three times, once as he lay on the ground, after leaving the Da Marcello restaurant in Rue de Beyseghem at around 10pm on October 14.
His wife, Mary, was left beaten and bloody. Mr Mockford died on the way to hospital.
Witnesses said they saw the couple walk across the street to their car, a silver Lexus 4x4, before shots were fired.
The attack was said to have happened very quickly and Mrs Mockford was left cradling her husband in the street, shouting for help. According to reports, two men were seen running away carrying a motorcycle helmet.
Initially police said they were not excluding any possibilities, including a carjacking, but Mr Mockford's car was not stolen.
The Belgian prosecutor's office said last night that there was a "judicial instruction" from Martine Quintin, the investigating judge, that meant they could give no "explanation" and no detail about the killing. "This is usual in such a serious murder investigation," a spokesman said.
Mr Mockford had worked for the company since the 1970s, and was the head of marketing for interim technologies for ExxonMobil Chemicals, Europe, promoting new types of greener fuel.
He was a keen sailor and was the skipper of an Exxon team who won first prize in a race in the Channel last year aboard their yacht Musette. He was also interested in motor cycling.
Mr Mockford had been married to his second wife, who is Belgian, for 15 years, and had three grown-up children from his first marriage, all of whom live in Britain. (© Daily Telegraph, London)