Retired Cop Found Shot Dead Alongside Partner

3 March 2013

A man found shot dead alongside his female partner was a retired police inspector of 30 years' service, a detective has said.

The pair were found dead at a property in Wiltshire on Saturday morning after neighbours alerted the police having heard gunshots.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Saunders said Bill Dowling retired about five or six years ago.

The detective also confirmed that the woman was the man's partner.

Mr Saunders said the bodies were discovered inside the porch.

"The investigation has so far identified that yesterday morning some neighbours overheard a number of gunshots from the address," he said.

"The investigation continues to try and establish what led to this tragic incident."

He added that formal identification would happen later on Sunday.

"We understand him to be a retired police officer - he retired some five years ago from Wiltshire Police Service," said Mr Saunders.

"The female was not the wife of the retired officer, she is his partner.

"We have recovered a weapon from the scene. My working assumption is that weapons were discharged and the victims had sustained some form of gunshot wounds."

One man who lived near property said he believed Mr Dowling had a firearms licence.

He said: "I have known him for more than a decade and he was into shooting.

"I'd seen him load what looked like a big gun case into his car a few times, I think he went pheasant shooting.

"It was a big gun - it looked like it could've been a shotgun or something.

"He had long had an interest in shooting but over the last couple of months I saw him in his shooting gear a lot more."

The neighbour added: "It just doesn't make sense. They were a lovely couple, and he had recently spent a lot of money doing up the house."

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out on Sunday.

Officers are not looking for anybody else in connection with the shootings, which happened on Moonrakers estate in Devizes.

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