A British woman, her US serviceman husband and her father have all been arrested over the ‘targeted’ double shooting of her ex-lover and his father in a row over custody of her son, MailOnline can exclusively reveal.
Samantha Stephen, her husband Paul Stephen – a serviceman from Ohio who works for the US Airforce based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk – and her father Stephen Alderton are being questioned by detectives after the killing of her former partner Joshua Dunmore and his father Gary Dunmore.
The Dunmores were gunned down in separate attacks in two villages in Cambridgeshire six miles apart on Wednesday night in a custody battle, police revealed yesterday.
Joshua, 32, was found dead at a house in an upmarket newbuild estate in Bluntisham after police received reports of gunshots. Around half an hour later, his father Gary, 57, was also found dead at his flat in Sutton.
The three suspects, aged 33, 27 and 66, are accused of conspiring to murder the father and son.
Samantha Stephen, 33, (left) is being questioned by detective along with her husband Paul Stephen, 27 (far left) – her father Stephen Alderton, 66, is also being held on suspicion of conspiracy to murder
Gary Dunmore (left) and his son Josh (right) were found dead at his flat in Sutton late on Wednesday night
His son Josh Dunmore, 32, had just won a bitter custody battle for his son and should have been ‘celebrating,’ a devastated pal has claimed.
Police at the scene where Gary Dunmore was found dead. At 9.37pm, police were called by a person in Sutton, near Ely, also reporting hearing gunshots
MailOnline can reveal that Mr Dunmore had been celebrating this week after successfully stopping his former partner and her husband from taking his son to America. He had turned up to a boxing gym close to his home ‘buzzing’ on Tuesday after being given the good news, friends said, and was looking forward to having his son for a week over Easter.
The arrests were made in the early hours of this morning after a stinger operation on a white Peugeot 208 involving two police forces. Officers also recovered a shotgun.
In a heartfelt tribute at the police cordon, one of Mr Dunmore’s friends wrote: ‘To Josh. I cannot believe I am writing this. This week was meant tine a celebration for you and your precious boy.
‘I pray that you can rest in peace knowing you fought every day for Ryan. Everything you done was for him and he will forever know this.’
She added in memory: ‘I will remember to pick up my smile like you always told me when I had a resting bitch face in the gym. SIBA will never be the same without you and your witty ways.
‘Keep on grooving up their rude boi. Love Harli.’
And a close friend told the Mail: ‘He was a very caring person.’
Cambridgeshire Police say there was a ‘domestic element’ to the killings on Wednesday evening and feared the pair were the victims of a ‘targeted attack’, with the custody battle an ‘active line of inquiry’.
Yesterday a woman aged 33, a man of 27 and a man aged 66 were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.
The younger pair were detained at a hotel near Cambridge in the early hours and the older man was held in a dramatic capture operation on the M5 near Droitwich, Worcestershire, over 100 miles away where officers used a stinger device to stop a white Peugeot. A shotgun was reportedly found.
Chief Superintendent Jon Hutchinson said: ‘At this stage we’re not looking for any further people in relation to the incident. Once we had identified that family relationship, it became quite apparent why this attack may have happened and this is clearly a targeted and isolated attack.’
He added: ‘A line of inquiry that we’re focusing on is that those people who are in custody are known to the deceased and have had recent contact with them.’
Forensics officers were called into the scene to conduct enquiries in The Row in Sutton
Devastated friends and family have laid flowers at the scene in Meridian Close, Bluntisham, where Josh Dunmore was found dead
Police were called to reports of gunshots at a property in Meridian Close, Bluntisham (pictured) where Josh Dunmore was found dead
The two people arrested at the hotel were ‘from the local area but we’re trying to identify where they have been staying in recent days’, he said, adding that forensic work was going on to establish if the same weapon was used at both locations, along with an investigation into whether the firearm that was found had been legally owned.
Detective Inspector Mark Butler of the major crime unit added: ‘There is no wider risk to the general public.’
A trampoline stood in the back garden of Josh’s redbrick house yesterday and a white van was parked outside. Flowers were also left there.
Neighbours were shocked by the two violent deaths in leafy streets where family homes sell for more than £500,000.
Designer Sarah Lown, 38, who lives near the house split into two flats where twice-married builder Gary Dunmore lived, heard three loud bangs just after 9pm on Wednesday. ‘I thought something had blown over,’ she said. ‘I didn’t think anything crazy had happened. Then I heard two more.’
Gordon Murray, 62, who lives opposite, said: ‘There was a lot of shouting. Then I saw armed police.’
Residents in Bluntisham were ordered to stay indoors by officers as a helicopter circled overhead.
Retail worker Sharon Coulson, 58, said the village was ‘a nice place to live, nice country walks, friendly, everyone says hello’.
Det Insp Butler said: ‘There will be an increased police presence in the areas concerned today and officers and crime officers will be at the scenes.’
Post-mortem examinations will take place in the coming days.