Date: 18 Oct 1993
Place: Rushden, Northamptonshire
John Reynolds was shot whilst walking his dogs.
He was out walking his two Labrador dogs in the early morning on Monday 18 October 1993 in a quiet country lane.
It was thought that his murder had been a professional hit, but the police said that they could not determine a motive for it.
Police said that they were keen to trace a motorcyclist that was seen moments after his murder which was thought to have been used by his murderer. The motorcycle, a Kawasaki Z200, was later found abandoned in Pytchley Road.
He had lived with his wife and two children in Avenue Road near Rushden, having been married 18 years. He was a property developer and ran two businesses, one buying land for development and the other buying old properties for renovation. He was described as being good at his job and said to have been a tough but fair businessman. His wife said that he lived for his work and thoroughly enjoyed it. She said that it seemed like more of a hobby to him and that he used to say how lucky he was doing something that he really enjoyed. She said that he was just a completely happy family man and that that was all that could be said about him, adding that he was cheerful, kind, and just a very bright sparky person.
It was found that a week earlier on 9 October 1993 a man had bought the motorcycle from a man in Deptford after responding to an advert in the 5 October 1993 edition of the London small ads newspaper Loot that listed things for sale. A man called at the house of the man selling the motorcycle in Deptford on the Saturday 9 October 1993 at about 6pm to make the purchase. The man that sold the motorbike said that the man that came to buy the bike told him that it only took him 20 minutes to get there as he had come through the Dartford Tunnel. The man said that he remembered the night that the man came around to buy the motorbike as it was the night of the Eubank fight.
The man that sold the bike said that the man that bought it didn't seem to be the kind of man to be buying a bike. He said that the man spoke quite well and seemed to know exactly what he wanted, asking if it was reliable.
He said that the man that bought the bike was in his early 30s, 5ft 11in to 6ft tall, with blonde hair. He added that he thought that he was effeminate from his accent and was later described as having a well-spoken southern accent. He said that the man that bought the motorbike had been wearing an expensive loose-fitting white silk shirt.
The police noted that it was thought that the man might have contacted other advertisers in the search for a motorbike and they appealed for anyone who had had such enquiries to come forward, in particular if they recognised the photofit that they released or if their prospective buyer turned up in a red Audi car that was later connected with the murder..
The man that sold the bike said that the man asked him how much he wanted for it and said that he told him that it was advertised at £180 with no offers and said that the man offered him £150 cash and that he agreed seeing as there were no papers for it.
It was thought that the man and the motorbike was later seen on Friday 15 October 1993 near Rushden town centre in Pytchley Road. Two men said that they were in Pytchley Road and saw a man trying to start a motorbike, noting that he appeared to be having difficulty and so went over to see if he wanted a hand. The man was said to have been wearing a black leather jacket, black trousers and a black open face crash helmet. The man said that when they asked the man if he was having trouble starting his motorbike, he told them that he always had trouble starting it when it was cold and said that it had been standing there overnight. He said that from what he gathered he didn't think that the man on the motorbike knew what he was doing with the way that he was trying to start the motorbike. He said that when he made some adjustments, the man was able to start his bike and they then went on their way.
The men said that the man on the bike was aged about 30 years, 5ft 11in, and with no real strong accent at all.
It was noted that the motorbike was identical to the one that had been sold in Deptford earlier in the month except that its frame and paniers had been resprayed black from their original white as it was sold on 9 October.
It was later noted that it had been seen throughout the week parked up in Pytchley Road which was about four miles from where John Reynolds lived with his wife and family.
Later on Sunday 17 October 1993 a man had been returning from a fishing trip in his car a few miles south of Rushden shortly before 11am. He said that as he reached the A6 road junction he had stopped at the giveaway line when he saw a car coming along the road from the right followed closely behind by a motorcycle. He said that the car was a red Audi. He said that the motorbike attracted his attention because of its big fairings and added that after he pulled onto the A6 and followed them along for a couple of miles it became plainly obvious that the motorbike and the red Audi car were together saying that the distance between them was tight and he said that he thought that they were obviously up to something. He said that as they got to Avenue Road, the red Audi indicated right and turned right into Avenue Road but said that the motorcyclist didn't indicate or look in his mirrors, but just followed the red Audi right into Avenue Road like he was a trailer being towed. It was noted that Avenue Road was the road that John Reynolds lived in.
The following morning, Monday 18 October at 8.10am, John Reynolds went out to walk his two Labrador dogs. He had been wearing a red checked lumber shirt, white jacket, blue jeans and white trainer shoes.
His wife said that when he went out there was nothing out of the ordinary and that it was a typical morning and that John Reynolds went off as he had done hundreds of times before.
On his way he met a friend who was also out walking his dog and they spoke for a moment, John Reynolds telling the other man about some of the work that he was involved with at the time, before going on their ways.
Meanwhile, a man in a black leather jacket, dark blue trousers and boots and a black open-faced crash helmet was seen in Avenue Road at about 8.25am near the old peoples home by a gardener that had gone to the old peoples home to do some work. He said that he noticed the motorcyclist because he was standing on the grass by the hedge adding that that the first thing he thought was, 'what was the man doing on his bloody grass'. He said that the motorcyclist walked back down to his bike as though he wasn't there. He said that the that the man seemed to walk with a purpose, like a cat, and said that he thought that he was an ex-serviceman.
The gardener said that soon after he got to the place in the old peoples home where he worked and kept his rake, he heard several shots and thought that they were close, but just thought that it was someone shooting rabbits. He said that then as he went back out towards the road with his rake, he saw the motorcyclist ride off at speed along Avenue Road.
Shortly after John Reynolds's son noticed that one of their dogs was loose after finding it walking about with its collar and lead hanging loose. After taking the dog home the son then ran back out to see if there was anything wrong with his father. John Reynolds's wife then rushed out and got into her car and then flew up the road and at Hyde Park Lane saw their other dog sitting on the corner with her collar and lead on. She said that she knew then that something was so wrong and that she then saw her son with John Reynolds who was lying on the ground and said that when she got to them her son told her that John Reynolds was dead.
Following the murder, the motorbike was found abandoned in Pytchley Road on Tuesday 19 October 1993. It was noted that it had been left chained up. The police noted that they had had a number of sightings of the bike in Pytchley Road between 11 and 19 October 1993 and that they very much believed that the person using the bike at the time had been living locally and appealed to anyone that might have seen him or knew him or otherwise had dealings with him.
The police said that after the motorcycle was abandoned that the motorcyclist was driven away as a passenger in a red Audi. The red Audi was seen to shoot out of Pytchley Road into Oakley Road between 8.40am to 8.50am on the morning of 18 October 1993. It was said that there had been three people in the red Audi, including a man with blonde hair who was thought to have been the same man that had bought the motorbike in Deptford.