Motorcyclist who 'shot children's author before dying in police chase' is named

A motorcyclist who shot a children’s author and parish councillor in his front garden during an ‘assassination attempt’ has been named.

James Nash, 42, remains in hospital with serious injuries after being blasted in the head during the ‘horrific shooting’ in the leafy village of Upper Enham, Hampshire.

The gunman, who fled the scene on a motorbike, crashed and died during a police chase while making his escape.

He was named locally last night as 34-year-old Alex Sartain.

A woman, 40, was also assaulted and sustained minor injuries during the incident, which took place at 3pm on August 5, a police spokesperson said.

Hampshire Constabulary say they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the shooting.

The gunman’s motive for the attack is not yet clear, but it is being treated as a deliberate assassination attempt, The Times reports.

Mr Nash, who also works at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Didcot, was named as the victim of the shooting by residents in the area who described him as a ‘lovely guy’.

He is also said to be an author and artist, and lives in the hamlet with his wife Dr Sarah Nash, who works at a research laboratory for the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Mr Nash’s father, Peter, told The Times from the family home in Dorset they had not been updated on his condition or whether he would pull through, adding: ‘I hope to God he does.’

One woman said: ‘He would literally do anything for anyone. He helps out with lots of things.

‘A few years ago we had a Fair and he was asked because he had a tractor to come and help out. He is a really nice person whenever I have spoken to him.’

James Roberts, who lives close to Mr Nash’s home told the Daily Mail: ‘We’re all quiet shocked because this place is as quiet as it gets. We’re in the middle of the countryside and not much happens around here. The only noise you get is from animals.

‘I heard a loud bang and thought somebody had let off a firework. And soon after, there was police everywhere.’

A Hampshire Police spokesperson said: ‘The man had been shot and sustained serious head injuries. He remains in a critical condition in Southampton General Hospital.

‘A 40-year-old woman was also assaulted during this incident and sustained minor injuries. A motorcycle failed to stop in connection with this incident.

‘A short time later, a motorbike crashed on the A343 near Hurstbourne Tarrant and the road was closed while emergency services attended.

‘The motorcyclist, a 34-year-old man, died at the scene. Next-of-kin have been informed and formal identification procedures are ongoing.

‘A mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct has been made in relation to the road traffic collision near Hurstbourne Tarrant.

‘Officers also attended an address in Enham Alamein as part of this investigation. Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances of these incidents.

‘While enquiries into the incident in Upper Enham are at an early stage, detectives do not believe there are any outstanding suspects in this investigation.’

Chief Inspector Kory Thorne, Test Valley district commander, said: ‘We know residents in the Upper Enham and Hurstbourne Tarrant areas will have been concerned by what happened yesterday.

‘They are likely to see a continued police presence in these areas while we investigate the circumstances.

‘Officers from our Neighbourhood Policing Team will also be carrying out patrols for added reassurance. If you live in the area and have any concerns, please speak to them.’

Local council leader Phil North sought to reassure residents of the area, telling them officers are ‘confident’ the deceased rider is the attacker.

He said he had been briefed by senior officers on the ‘absolutely horrible incident’, adding in a statement on Facebook: ‘The police have confirmed that they are not looking for anyone else though and that they’re confident that the deceased suspect is responsible, which I hope will reassure residents.

‘I know this will be a very worrying time for the community and until the police complete their investigations we won’t get a full understanding of the incident.’

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