‘Big softie’ father-of-four shot dead in alley in ‘case of mistaken identity’

The daughter of a man gunned down by a mystery shooter as he walked home has launched an emotional appeal for information about her father’s murder.

Police believe 43-year-old Dean Edwards was assassinated in a case of “mistaken identity” after he sustained a single fatal injury to the back of his head.

The father-of-four was targeted after leaving Betts Park in Penge, south east London, in the early hours of Sunday 12 July.

Detectives have looked at CCTV and knocked doors in the area in an attempt to piece together what happened, but one month on the case remains unsolved.

Mr Edwards’ daughter Hollie Edwards, 21, said: “Our dad was a friendly, bubbly and loving person.

“He was never confrontational and hated arguments, he was a big softie at heart, loved all the grandchildren and spoiled them.

“He was a good, innocent person.

“He was really generous, used to get all the beers in. You knew you were having a cheap night if you went out with dad. But he’s been taken from us, wrongly.

“Mistaken identity is the only thing that makes sense – and that just doesn’t make sense.”

Ms Edwards appealed for anyone with information about why the grandfather was gunned down to come forward.

“Someone out there knows what happened to our dad,” she said.

“Someone knows who did this.

“Please tell the police any little thing you’ve heard, it might be a big deal.

“We’ve tried to sugarcoat what’s happened with the grandchildren, but the oldest one is eight and he wants and deserves answers as much as we do.”

Police believe Mr Edwards, who had worked for a local events hire firm for the last two decades, walked through Betts Park shortly after midnight on the night he died.

He crossed the park and was walking down the alleyway leading onto Croydon Road near his home when he was shot with a 9mm pistol. His lifeless body was discovered at around 2am.

Police said Mr Edwards, who adopted three step-children in his early 20s, was not involved in any criminal activity and had never been in trouble with them.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Kieran said: “We believe this is a case of mistaken identity.

“There is nothing in Dean’s life, background, family and friends, or in the pubs he visited earlier that evening that indicate he’s had a row or argument – nothing.

“It means we can concentrate on criminality in the area and those with access to firearms.

“Someone has to have been in the park, and he’s been shot some point in this alleyway. Someone was in the park, with a gun. Why? We are keeping an open mind, but it was not linked to Dean.”

No arrests have been made.

DC Kieran added: “For there to have been a single person who has got hold of a firearm, shot someone dead in a park – not necessarily the person they were intending – and then not talk about it, that would be highly unusual.

“We really do think there are people out there who know what’s happened – that’s who we want to hear from.

“Nobody has a bad word to say about Dean. This case – with Dean being an innocent victim – has a particular impetus.”

Mr Edwards’ death was one among a spate of violent murders in the capital during a short period last month.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 020 8721 4868, or via 101 quoting CAD 1402/12JUL.

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