Date: 13 Sep 1997
Raymond Clifford was shot in the head at the yard of his firm Bredhurst Car Breakers in the early morning as he was locking his car door.
He was shot in the head with a sawn-off shotgun.
It was thought that he had been lured there to meet a lover. He had lived in Borstal, Rochester in Kent by the river. His scrapyard was in Westfield Sole Road, Lidsing which was five miles away and described as in a wooded country lane. He had bought the bungalow next door to the scrapyard and was said to have used it as a secret love nest and that he had been having a string of affairs behind his wife's back.
Raymond Clifford was a millionaire scrap dealer and was married with two children. He also owned a transport cafe in Chatham, a marina on the River Medway and other property in the area. He also had a collection of motorbikes, a speed boat and a Second World War German motor torpedo boat.
Newspaper reports stated that some local people had said that Raymond Clifford was a big-time drugs dealer and that he had made many enemies. They said that he had stepped on many people's toes and had made millions of pounds from drugs. They said that any one of scores of people could have pulled the trigger. Another person had described Raymond Clifford as, 'a nasty piece of work and he had a lot of enemies'.
Other reports state that he owned two Ferrari sports cars and two boats and was a suspected drugs smuggler.
Police said that his murder looked planned and that his killer or killers had known that he would be there. However, they said that it was not necessarily professional. They said that Raymond Clifford did not live on the site or bungalow where he was murdered and that it would have been a bizarre coincidence if the killer had been there by chance at precisely the time that Raymond Clifford was there.
It was thought that his killer had been hired in London and had previously rehearsed the murder three weeks before. Police said that they knew that a man had previously watched Raymond Clifford turn up at the bungalow to meet a woman and that the man was still watching him when he left.
A police detective said, 'Ray Clifford was a well-known local character. He was rolling in money but didn't pay much income tax. He had been subjected to a lot of attention by us in the past because he was suspected of being involved in the importation and supply of ecstasy and cannabis, as well as handling stolen cars and other goods. When he was asked where all his wealth came from he told us to **** off. Although he was married he was a real ladies' man and bought the house near the scrapyard just for the purpose of entertaining mistresses. We believe he had regular girlfriends but also took prostitutes there. He was in the habit of going there on a Friday night for sex sessions and we know that three weeks before he was shot someone hid near the house and watched him come and go. It was a professional-style murder. We don't know the motive yet, but it could be a falling out connected with the drugs business.'
A Detective Chief Inspector said, 'We think the killer made a dry run on his target three weeks ago. Someone went there and carried out surveillance and reconnaissance. Someone did their homework on Mr Clifford. They knew his routine and exactly where he would be that night.'.