TEN years ago a community was left reeling from the cold-blooded murder of Jimmy Millen who was gunned down near his home in Hastings.
The 27-year-old was working on his car in the Tilekiln estate when two men on a motorbike drove past and fired several shots leaving him for dead.
The gunmen disappeared into Castleham Industrial Estate and were never seen again.
A decade on from the merciless killing, Jimmy’s long-suffering wife Michelle is making a heartfelt appeal for people to come forward with information.
“Somebody somewhere knows something,” said Michelle. “There will be members of this community who know who did this.
“They are withholding vital information and as a family we need closure. We need to know why our much loved father, husband and son was so cruelly taken from us.”
It was the afternoon of Wednesday October 24, a wet and gloomy autumn day.
Mr Millen, a doorman and professional boxer, had been working in Tile Barn Road on his D-reg Ford Fiesta XR2 when two men dressed in black pulled up on a motorbike. The pillion passenger aimed a hand-gun and fired at him several times.
Mr Millen collapsed and crawled along the road into Carpenter Drive where he shouted out that he’d been shot.
He died in Conquest Hospital 30 minutes later despite a desperate fight to save him.
Immediately after the killing, Michelle and her three children Danny, then aged 11, Jimmy Junior, aged nine, and eight-year-old Chelsea, were given police protection and moved out of the area for three months.
To date there have been no leads for the police to follow up in their investigation.
On Monday (24) the family will hold an emotional anniversary service in the Church in the Wood in Hollington.
Michelle, who now lives in Mildenhall Drive and is a grandmother, has been busy making dozens of posters to place around the town.
She added: “I can’t believe it is 10 years since the murder. They have been the longest 10 years of my life.
“I don’t really know how we have all coped. The support of the community, family and friends has been overwhelming. I have a Facebook site which has dozens of messages of support.
“The police have done the best that they can but we need a breakthrough.
“The community was too shocked and frightened at the time but now I feel things have changed and it’s the right time for someone to give us that vital bit of information.”
If you have any information call the East Sussex Police line on 0845 60 70 999.
WHO WAS JIMMY MILLEN?
JIMMY Millen was killed just two months after the gruesome murder of Jason Martin-Smith.
A decade on, the two crimes are still being linked by police.
And the original Operation Darnel name given to the case is still being used today by Sussex Police.
Police believe Martin-Smith,who was from Camberley, Surrey was shot dead in Hastings and his body buried at sea on or around August 21, 2001.
Born and raised in the tough Merseyside suburb of Kirkby, Millen was well known to the police. It was believed his death was linked to a series of incidents in the south coast underworld.
Three men were arrested and questioned about both murders but none were ever charged.
But in a sensational interview with the Hastings Observer back in June 2002, Jimmy’s widow Michelle revealed how he had made a chilling confession.
Michelle told how Jimmy had phoned her while driving home from Liverpool. He explained how he and four others took part in the shooting and strangling of Martin-Smith.
He said his body was dismembered in a lock-up and buried at different sites across the town.
Just a few weeks later Jimmy was shot dead four times in the back by a pillion passenger on a motorbike.
A statement issued to the Observer by Sussex Police this week said: “The murder of Jimmy Millen and the diappearance of Jason Martin-Smith remain unresolved despite an exhaustive enquiry by Sussex Police detectives.
“Since then there has been no new information and no new lines of enquiry.
“The case is not being re-opened but it will be subject to a review as part of our standard policy for unresolved serious crimes, in order to see if there are any further forensic or other opportunities to progress the case.
“Our thoughts are with Mr Millen’s family at this time and, as with all such cases, we will always look into any new information or lines of enquiry which are suggested to us.
“Anyone who feels they have new information can contact us at any time via 0845 60 70 999 quoting Operation Darnel You can also contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111.”