Man found dead on Wigan street covered in 'hazardous' substance was shot, police say

Liam Smith Shevington
Liam Smith's family say he was "kind-hearted, funny, the life and soul of the party". Credit: GMP

Police have confirmed a man found dead on a street in a quiet village in Wigan, covered in a 'potentially hazardous substance" was shot dead.

Emergency services were called to Kilburn Drive in Shevington at around 7pm on Thursday 24 November.

Liam Smith, 38, was found dead at the scene.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed initial information indicates he was the subject of a fatal gunshot wound and an acid attack.

It makes him the first victim of a fatal shooting in Greater Manchester for more than two years.

The force has launched a murder investigation, saying it "took place in unique and shocking circumstances on a quiet residential street."

A police cordon remains in place on Kilburn Drive Credit: ITV news/Claire Hannah

Mr Smith's family are being supported by specially trained police officers and have issued a tribute to him:

"Liam was kind-hearted, funny, the life and soul of the party.

"He was the most devoted dad, much loved son, brother, grandson and uncle.

"He will sorely be missed by all who knew and loved him".

Liam’s family have now asked for continued privacy whilst they grieve for their loss.

After the grim discovery of Mr Smith's body, just yards from his home, police issued a warning to who had had contact with his body to seek immediate medical attention due to a substance found on him.

In an update GMP now says following examination and tests, the hazardous substances are believed to not pose any further harm, threat or risk to the public in the surrounding area and have been contained.

They are still telling anyone who had direct contact with the body at the time to speak to officers or seek medical advice.

The force also said the public do no approach or contact anyone they suspect of being involved in this offence.

Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand from GMP’s Major Incident Team, who is leading this investigation said "This is a shocking murder of a much-loved family man.

"I have a team of detectives working around the clock and I urge anyone who has seen anything unusual or out of the ordinary near to the victim’s home during the day and early evening of Thursday 24 November to contact the Major Incident Room.

"This is the first fatal shooting in the Greater Manchester area for over two years and we are determined to recover the weapon and find Liam’s killer."

Kilburn Drive is a very quiet street with bungalows, and mainly elderly residents.

One or Mr Smith's neighbours has told us he knew Liam, saying he was a "nice man, with two sons, aged about 12 and 15".

The resident, who lives opposite Mr Smith's house also told ITV news he heard a "bang" on Thursday night shortly before his body was discovered, adding "we didn't go out to have a look, but who knows...we might have been able to change the situation for the better."

Liam's body was found yards from his home on Kilburn Drive in Shevington, Wigan Credit: ITV News

On Sunday, 27 November, a police cordon remained in place along with a forensic tent set up on a pavement close to Mr Smith's house.

Residents are being told not to be alarmed if police officers are seen in the area wearing protective clothing, as they are taking precautions at the scene, and this is standard procedure.

GMP will continue to issue updates when more information is available.

Information can also be submitted through the Major Incident Public Portal.

Kilburn Drive is in the quiet village of Shevington, Wigan Credit: ITV News/Claire Hannah

Can you help?

GMP say any details should be passed via the LiveChat function on or by calling 101 quoting incident number 910 of 25/11/2022.

In an emergency, always dial 999.

Information can also be submitted through the Major Incident Public Portal here.