Former Police Inspector and partner found dead
A retired Police Inspector and his partner have been found dead in the porch of his Devizes home.
The body of Bill Dowling and his partner were discovered by neighbours, who had heard several gun shots, in his glass porch at Moonraker, London Road, just before 11am yesterday.
Police have recovered a weapon which had been discharged twice and the two bodies were taken away last night for a post mortem examination, which will take place this afternoon.
A neighbour who has lived opposite for 11 years said her daughters, aged seven and 15, heard screams followed by a loud bang around 8.40am.
“I heard a bang and thought it was the back door. I looked around the house and garden but saw nothing untoward so I went to Melksham with them shopping.
She said the neighbours next door to Mr Dowling heard muffled arguing, which sounded like furniture being moved and on investigation, they discovered blood on the window of the porch and discovered the two bodies.
“My son called at 11.07am asking me to come back and when I arrived, the police were turning up. They smashed through the back door but the window with blood on wasn’t covered until 12.30pm, and then at 2.30pm the tent went up.
"They were good neighbours and if we had a problem we could always go to them, for example if you were going on holiday. Nothing has happened over the period of time (we have been here) to say there was a problem."
She said Mr Dowling's partner, known to them only as Vicky, did not live with Mr Dowling but was often seen coming and going to the house.
The incident happened in a quiet, family orientated cul de sac.
“This is a quiet area and I am happy to let my daughter play on the green. It is very shocking, we don't know why it happened."
Sandra Nairn, 54, has lived three doors down from Mr Dowling since 1992 and was leaving for work at Marks and Spencer, Devizes, at 11.20am when she saw police vans turn up.
“I didn’t hear anything but when I got back from work at 5pm I kept saying it must be bad.
“He has two sons in their early thirties, the same age as both my daughters, and they used to play together.
“He was a very pleasant to talk to and would come into Marks and Spencer to talk. His partner seemed nice and she would come into the shop too.”
Mr Dowling, thought to be in his early 60’s, retired from Wiltshire Police service five years ago and was working with the Ministry of Defence in Bulford.
He has family around Devizes and two grown up sons, one of who works at Devizes Police Headquarters.
Nigel Kerton, 65, a retired journalist, has known Mr Dowling through work for up to 15 years.
“He was a loyal bloke, a big friendly guy and gentle giant. He was an old fashioned police man, not a technology man and hated paperwork. I used to see him with his pockets bulging with notebooks.
“He was a very well respected Chief Inspector in Devizes. You could go to him in confidence and he would not breach that confidence.”
Twenty detectives are involved in the investigation and local police are carrying out house to house enquiries.
Chief Inspector Mark Sellers reassured the community that this was an isolated, tragic incident.