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'He was innocent' says father of suspect shot by police

The father of a man shot dead by police as they investigated the killing of a pensioner in Kent says he's convinced of his son's innocence.

Billy Smith had been questioned over the murder of Roy Blackman, who was bludgeoned to death by a gang of burglars at his home in Biddenden.

He was released but went missing after taking off the electronic monitoring tag he'd been fitted with as part of his bail requirement.

Mr Smith was later shot dead in Goudhurst. Police say he was carrying a stolen gun.

But his father says there was no need for armed officers to confront him, and he believes his son played no part in the Blackman burglary.

  1. Derek Johnson

Life sentence for burglar who killed homeowner

A man has been jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering a pensioner at his home in Kent .

Roy Blackman, 73, was battered to death while trying to protect his property at Biddenden from a gang of burglars.

Mark Love has been told he will serve a minimum of 28 years in jail.

He was also found guilty of playing a part in another violent burglary in which champion marksman George Digweed was beaten around the head.

Kent Police said the hunt for the rest of the gang - and for missing cash from the two raids - will continue.

We speak to Mr Digweed and include tributes from Mr Blackman's friends and work colleagues shortly after the attack.


Killer burglar is caught shopping on CCTV - hours after murdering a defenceless pensioner

The man who murdered elderly businessman Roy Blackman went shopping after the violent attack, spending the money he'd stolen in the burglary.

Mark Love has been found guilty of the murder of Mr Blackman, who was 73. He was beaten and killed in his home by a gang of burglars, one of whom was Love. The others have yet to be caught.

Mark Love, who is guilty of murdering Roy Blackman Credit: Kent Police

He and the gang are also responsible for a burglary and vicious attack on married couple George and Kate Digweed, in their home in Northiam, before they targeted Mr Blackman.

"Kate and I have been through an horrific ordeal which has changed our lives forever. We are slowly rebuilding our confidence in trusting people and our surroundings. We have the opportunity of rebuilding our lives, a privilege that cannot unfortunately be afforded to Roy Blackman, whose family has shown immense courage throughout this whole ordeal.

We would like to thank Kent and Sussex Police for their support and especially Detective Sergeant Shelly Chantler, from Kent police, who has helped greatly in getting us through this difficult period."

– George Digweed, victim of burglary gang

Police talk of brutal attacks on people in their own homes

Police have been talking about the 'brutal attacks' on a couple in Kent - and on the murdered businessman Roy Blackman - by members of a burglary gang, some of whom have yet to be caught.

One man, Mark Love, has been told he'll serve life in prison - or at least 28 years - for the murder of Mr Blackman, who was killed in Biddenden. He also received 12 years for an attack on a husband and wife, to be served concurrently.

Here's what Detective Seargent Shelley Chantler from Kent Police had to say:

Mark Love sentenced to 28 years for murder of Roy Blackman

Mark Love has been sentenced to 28 years in prison Credit: Kent Police

Mark Love has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murdering a pensioner in his own home. He must serve a minimum of 28 years.

The body of 73 year-old Roy Blackman was found in Biddenden in March.


Vintage plane crash lands - pilot escapes unscathed

The pilot walked away without major injury Credit: Kent Police

A replica first world war plane will be able to return to the skies after crash landing upside down in a field outside Ashford yesterday.

The pilot was taking the Fokker Albatross from Belgium to Headcorn aerodrome when its engine failed four miles short of the runway. The pilot managed to walk away unscathed.

Vintage aircraft crash landed Credit: Kent Police

Two police officers injured in M2 crash

The police car is loaded on to a recovery truck this afternoon Credit: ITV

Two policeman have been injured in a serious road accident on the M2 in Kent this afternoon.

The motorway has been closed after the police car was involved in a crash with a lorry near Sittingbourne, between junctions 5 and 6 coastbound.

Queues approaching the closure have been more than four miles long.

Carriageway closed after Kent Police vehicle involved in crash

A Kent Police vehicle responding to a call in the east of the county has been involved in a collision with a lorry.

It happened just after 11am on the M2 between junctions 5 and 6 of the coastbound carriageway.

Kent Police, KFRS and Secamb have attended. Two officers are being treated for their injuries. As a result of the collision, the carriageway is likely to be closed for several hours.

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