Detectives investigating motive of suspected shooter who died in crash while trying to flee
Detectives are continuing to investigate the shooting of a children’s author and parish councillor whose suspected attacker died in a police chase after trying to flee on a motorcycle.
The victim, James Nash, 42, is critically ill in hospital after receiving serious head injuries during the daytime attack in the Hampshire village of Upper Enham. His wife, Sarah, a specialist in satellite technology, received minor injuries in the incident, which happened on Wednesday afternoon.
Police are still investigating the motive of the suspected attacker, Alex Sartain, 34, who lived near Nash. Sartain was a mechanic and was jailed in 2016 for theft while on a suspended sentence for assault and for driving while under the influence of drugs. On social media he followed pages dedicated to figures connected to German Nazis and once wrote “I come with a warning label”.
Police have not said what weapon was used in the attack but some local people have claimed it was a homemade shotgun.
Phil North, the leader of Test Valley borough council, sought to reassure residents, telling them officers were confident that the deceased rider was the perpetrator of the shooting.
Describing Nash as a “hands-on” councillor, North said: “I know James well and have worked with him on a number of projects … I’m still utterly shocked at this terrible incident.
“James is such a kind-hearted individual who cares deeply for his community. He is also a talented children’s author and illustrator and I was extremely touched last year when one of the dedications in his latest book was to my newborn daughter.”
He added: “My thoughts remain with James, his family and the people of Enham Alamein. I hope and pray that he makes a recovery. We’re all with you, James.”
Hampshire police said investigations were at an early stage but they did not believe there were any outstanding suspects.
Sartain is believed to have initially fled the scene on foot before trying to get away on a motorbike. He was involved in a fatal crash on an A-road about 3 miles from Nash’s home.
Nash, who is also an artist, has written children’s books including the self-illustrated The Winter Wild.
Kit Malthouse, the MP for north-west Hampshire, who is also the minister for crime and policing, said he had been briefed by a senior officer and that his thoughts were with the family.