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Police launch murder investigation after man’s body found in overgrown area

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Forensics officers at Friswells Hill where a young man died (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Police have launched a murder investigation after the body of a young man was found in the Friswells Hill area.

A spokesman said a member of the public discovered the man, who was unresponsive, at about 1pm yesterday in “a secluded overgrown area” off Border Lane South and Friswells Road in Pembroke.

The man appeared to have sustained a gunshot wound and an on-call physician confirmed his death.

Officers are appealing for witnesses who heard gunshots on Sunday night or yesterday morning to come forward.

Detective Inspector Jason Smith, speaking just after 3pm yesterday, said police had responded on Sunday to reports of gunshots in the area.

Police later confirmed reports of shots fired came in at about 10.15pm on Sunday, from “a number of unspecified locations in Pembroke”.

Police seal off part of the road after a body was found in the Friswells Hill area (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Vehicles attended and carried out a search but found no evidence of anything untoward.

The spokesman said “several units responded to the information received, vague though it may have been”.

There were “extensive searches of the Happy Valley, Parsons Road and Fentons Drive areas, as well as Friswells Hill and other locations in North Hamilton”.

“However, there was no evidence found to substantiate these reports.”

He said both matters were now under investigation.

The scene at Friswells Hill as police investigate the discovery of a body. (Photograph Gareth Finighan)

It was the island’s first murder for 2023.

Mr Smith called for anyone who heard gunshots in the area on Sunday or in the early hours of yesterday morning to get in touch – along with anyone who saw “suspicious activity, whether motorcycles or persons congregating”.

“We are appealing for you to contact us so we can advance this investigation.”

Mr Smith declined to give further details, saying the investigation was in its early stages.

The scene at Friswells Hill as police launch an investigation after a body was found. (Photograph supplied)

Michael Weeks, the local MP and the Minister of National Security, said: “I just want to reiterate to the public – any information you might have, no matter how small in detail, please pass it on to police.”

Mr Weeks offered condolences “on behalf of myself, my family, and the Government for another senseless loss of life”.

“If you know something, say something and help police get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.”

A resident, who asked not to be identified, told The Royal Gazette: “Our area has been the scene of multiple murders, and it is heart wrenching to see yet another young man killed in our neighbourhood.”

Friswells Hill: a troubled past

The residential neighbourhood of Friswells Hill, which straddles Pembroke and Devonshire parishes, has struggled over the years with episodes of antisocial behaviour and gun violence.

Fed-up residents five years ago highlighted gang activity that erupted in October 2018 with gun damage to a house and a car shortly after a community meeting with police.

The gunshots were blamed by people living in the area on a gang feud, with tensions running high in the neighbourhood.

Along with the murder of Randy Robinson in 2011, the area bore witness to the fatal shooting in 2009 of Shane Minors on South Terrace off Friswells Hill.

Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of National Security, said the tragedy underscored the need for people in the know to break the silence.

“People have been expressing condolences for murdered young men for many years and at the same time calling for a halt to the violence,” he said.

“However, sadly once again today another young person had been murdered.

“It often seems that some people are numb to the violence or turn a blind eye to those who they know are involved in gangs and guns.

“We must do better. Too many families are hurting; too many young lives have been cut short and this is the second time this neighbourhood has had to experience such trauma in 15 years – two times too many.”

The neighbourhood was the scene of a gun murder in 2011, when Randy Robinson was shot dead on Border Lane North as he walked towards Friswells Lane.

Mr Dunkley added: “I urge members of the community to speak up and bring the murderer to justice.

“I also urge people to take a stand and help anyone impacted by gangs and guns to find a better life.”

Anyone with possible details should contact the police emergency number, 911; the non-emergency line, 211; the general police number, 295 0011, or the independent and confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 800 8477.

Mr Smith can be reached directly at 717-0864 or by e-mail at jsmith2@bps.bm.

Information can also be provided by the public via a familiar police officer they feel comfortable speaking with.