A ‘troubled’ motorcyclist who gunned down a parish councillor before dying in a police chase worked as a mechanic at a garage just yards down the road from his victim.
The gunman named locally as Alex Sartain, 34, shot James Nash, 42, in the front garden of the councillor’s thatched cottage in the pretty Hampshire hamlet of Upper Enham, near Andover.
Officers gave chase in a patrol car after the gunman – who locals said had issues with drinking or drugs – fled on his own Yahama R1 motorcycle, but he later crashed and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Nash suffered serious head injuries in the attack, with his wife Dr Sarah Nash, a senior space scientist, sustaining minor injuries.
Sartain worked at JMS Motorcycles – a garage locals say is owned by his father – and previously served jail time for stealing from Marks and Spencer and TK Maxx.
Mr Nash is a company director and artist who also writes children’s books.
The suspected gunman lived around 200 yards away from Mr Nash and wife Sarah, who works the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Oxfordshire.
A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said today that her daughter went to school with Sartain and he was a ‘lovely boy’.
The woman, who was in her 40s, said: ‘Alex is the guy that crashed. My daughter knew him but I didn’t think he was a bad person. I believe his dad owns the garage. It’s his dad’s motorcycle business.
‘Troubled’ motorcyclist Alex Sartain (pictured) who gunned down a parish councillor before dying in a police chase worked as a mechanic at a garage just yards down the road from his victim.
The gunman is thought to have been known to Mr Nash, though their exact relationship is unclear. The councillor suffered serious head injuries
Mr Nash suffered serious head injuries in the attack, with his wife Dr Sarah Nash (pictured), a senior space scientist, sustaining minor injuries
Sartain worked at JMS Motorcycles – a garage locals say is owned by his father – and previously served jail time for stealing from Marks and Spencer and TK Maxx
‘I don’t think they are bad people. I have heard there was some kind of issue between Alex and the Nash’s but I don’t know what it could be.
‘I haven’t seen him for some years but as far as I know he lived with his dad at the garage.
‘I have seen James at a few meetings and he seemed to have fitted into village life very well. He bought that old cottage and did it up.’
Another resident, who again did not wish to be named said that Mr Sartain worked as a mechanic and that people in the village were speculating on motives.
Speaking outside her home just down the road from the scene of the attack she said: ‘We don’t know what the reason could be. Mr Nash was well liked and he was a nice man.
‘We know the guy who shot him was called Alex Sartain, he used to help fix motorbikes. I think he worked at the garage but I have never met him.’
Mr Nash had submitted a planning application for an ‘agricultural building’ on his property which would have allowed him to ‘store machinery necessary for the upkeep and cultivation of the surrounding land’.
Aerial shots show that Sartain’s home was close to the proposed building. There is no suggestion that Sartain opposed the plans, and police have not revealed his motive.
The parish councillor was described as a man committed to his community who last year took on the role of Father Christmas in a local village hall.
A villager said: ‘We don’t know what caused the younger man to target James – there must have been a dispute of some sort.
‘But I know that the shooter was a troubled soul who had had issues with drink or drugs.’
The villager said he had heard that Mr Nash was fired at with a ‘homemade shotgun’.
Mr Nash had submitted a planning application for an ‘agricultural building’ (pictured) on his property which would have allowed him to ‘store machinery necessary for the upkeep and cultivation of the surrounding land’
He described Mr Nash as ‘mild-mannered’ and said the councillor had been instrumental in securing speed warning signs for the hamlet last year.
Another local resident added: ‘I know the guy that was shot. He is a lovely guy. 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. He renovated his whole house recently and it looks very modern.’
Last night police revealed a 40-year-old woman was also assaulted during the incident on Wednesday and sustained minor injuries.
Mr Nash describes himself on his blog as ‘a naturalist, first and foremost devoted to the conservation of our wild world’.
The site says he is resident artist at The Hawk Conservancy Trust based in Andover.
Following the shooting, Mr Nash was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital as armed police descended on the hamlet, where the average house price is £813,149. The suspect crashed his bike on the A343 three miles away, near the village of Hurstbourne Tarrant.
The Nash’s house is located on a quiet country lane next to the Enham Trust, a charity which provides support and care for the vulnerable and disabled.
A police cordon remains in place today in Upper Enham in Hampshire, following the shooting on Wednesday. A man who fled the scene was later killed
Forensics were pictured at the scene today in Enham, Hampshire. A police cordon remained in place following yesterday’s shooting
Armed officers swooped on idyllic Upper Enham, Hants, Wednesday afternoon after the attack which police said left a 42-year-old man with serious injuries. Pictured: Police at the scene of the shooting in MacCallum Road, Upper Enham
The crash site was three miles from the scene of the shooting. The rider died at the scene of crash, police have now confirmed
A trust spokesman said: ‘We are saddened by the events that took place yesterday and our thoughts are with the individual affected.
‘This is of course a worrying time for the community and we are supporting residents within the village, but can confirm that nobody supported by the Trust or staff were involved.’
Hampshire Police said in a statement: ‘Officers were called to an address following a report of an assault on a man. It’s now known the 42-year-old victim was shot and received serious injuries. He is currently receiving treatment at Southampton General Hospital.
‘A motorcycle failed to stop for officers in connection with this incident. A short time later a motorbike crashed. The motorcyclist died at the scene.’
The force said a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct had been made, adding that officers had attended an address in Enham Alamein parish as part of this investigation.
In a statement yesterday Phil North, leader of Test Valley Borough Council whose ward includes Upper Enham, said: ‘The police have confirmed that they are not looking for anyone else and that they’re confident that the deceased suspect is responsible, which I hope will reassure residents.’
Suspected gunman Alex Sartain’s father runs a motorcycle repair business in the hamlet.
He had two brothers, Scott, 32, and Gary, 30, as well as a sister, Zoe, 28. A villager said: ‘Alex had a history of petty crime over recent years and had got into drugs I think too. Nobody can understand why he has done what he has done.’
Locals said James Nash, whose wife is a top space scientist, is in hospital being treating for gun shot wounds following shooting in Upper Enham yesterday
Mr Nash lives with his wife Dr Sarah Nash, a top scientist who works at a laboratory that builds space equipment
Police gave chase after the shooting suspect, who is believed to have initially left the scene on foot before jumping onto a motorbike, was seen fleeing the area. Pictured: Police forensic teams were at the scene of the shooting today
A forensic van was seen earlier today pulling up outside a police cordon in MacCallum Road, Upper Enham, where the shooting took place
According to a local council chief, police believe the rider was responsible for the shooting and officers ‘are not looking for anyone else’. Pictured: A police forensic team at the scene of the shooting in Upper Enham
Officers ‘are not looking for anyone else’ in connection with the shooting.
Mr Nash, who is a councillor for Enham Alamein Parish Council, and his wife live in a detached two bedroom cottage in Upper Enham.
He was named as the victim by a resident who lives nearby and is said to be an an active councillor who has been heavily involved with the local community.
Speaking of Mr Nash, the resident said: ‘I know the guy that got shot. He writes children’s books and he is an artist. I know of him and I have spoken to him but I don’t know him as a friend.
‘He is a lovely guy. 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.
‘He renovated his whole house recently and it looks very modern.’
James Roberts, who lives close to Mr Nash’s home said: ‘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.’
Meanwhile, his wife Dr Nash works at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Didcot in Oxford.
The research laboratory is a government agency that carries out research in science and engineering.
Its areas of specialism include particle physics, nuclear physics, space science and astronomy Mr Nash describes himself on his blog as ‘a naturalist, first and foremost devoted to the conservation of our wild world’.
As police raced in pursuit of the motorbike, the rider crashed on the A343 in Hurstbourne Tarrant. Pictured: Police at the scene of the crash
The rider died at the scene of crash (pictured), according to Hampshire Police, who have launched an investigation and referred the incident to the Independent Officer for Police Conduct (IOPC)
The site says he is resident artist at The Hawk Conservancy Trust based in Andover, Hants.
Hampshire Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
A spokesperson for the force 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.
According to a local council chief, police believe the rider was responsible for the shooting and ‘are not looking for anyone else’. Pictured: MacCallum Road in Upper Enham, where the shooting took place
Hampshire Police, who last night closed off a road, say a mandatory referral has been made to the Independent Officer for Police Conduct (IOPC) and that officers have attended a property in nearby Enham Alamein as part of this investigation
‘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.’
An IOPC spokesperson said: ‘We have received a mandatory referral from Hampshire Police relating to a fatal road traffic incident in Doiley Bottom, Andover involving Hampshire Police on Wednesday 5 August. We are now assessing the level of IOPC involvement in any investigation.’
Local council leader Phil North, who represents the ward in which the incident took place in, described it as an ‘absolutely horrible incident’.
Councillor North, who represents the Bourne Valley Ward and is leader of Test Valley Borough Council, said in a statement on Facebook: ‘(This is) an absolutely horrible incident in my Bourne Valley Ward this afternoon.
‘My thoughts are with the family of the man who was shot – and the communities of both Enham Alamein and Hurstbourne Tarrant.
‘I’ve been informed of some of the details by local sources this evening but I certainly don’t have a full picture.
‘I will hopefully get further information from the police in the morning and that they will be able to reassure local residents.
‘But tonight, let’s all hope that the victim of the shooting makes a full recovery.’
In another post today, he added: ‘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.
‘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.’