Oil exec gunned down in Brussels street – was it a professional hit?

No obvious motive as British executive Nicholas Mockford is shot three times in front of his wife

LAST UPDATED AT 09:08 ON Fri 26 Oct 2012

MYSTERY surrounds the death of Nicholas Mockford, the British oil executive shot three times in front of his wife as he left an Italian restaurant in a suburb of Brussels.

Mockford, 60, an executive for ExxonMobil, was killed on 14 October but Belgian police imposed a reporting blackout and only released the news yesterday. His wife, Mary, was left beaten and covered in blood, cradling her husband and shouting for help. He later died on the way to hospital.

Witnesses said they saw the couple walk across the street from Da Marcello restaurant (above) in Rue de Beyseghem to their Lexus car before the shots were fired. Reports suggest two men were spotted running away from the scene, one holding a motorcycle helmet.

According to The Daily Telegraph, police are considering all possible motives for the shooting, including an attempted carjacking – although the killers did not take Mockford's car.

Chief Inspector Wim Van Leifferenge said no one had been arrested for the killing. A 'judicial instruction' from the investigating judge has prevented any further details being revealed about the killing, which is said to be a normal process in a serious murder investigation in Belgium.

Mockford is understood to have worked for ExxonMobil since the 1970s and was head of marketing for interim technologies at ExxonMobil Chemicals, Europe, promoting new types of greener fuel. He was brought up in Leicestershire and had moved abroad from Chichester some years ago, living in Belgium and Singapore.

He married his Belgian wife 15 years ago and had three grown-up children from his first marriage living in Britain.

One of his family members told the Telegraph that Mockford was a "genuinely lovely, clean-cut, mild-mannered, family man" and said the family has been left in confusion about what has happened.

"He was shot so calmly and so quickly, it smacks horribly of a professional hit," said the relation. "But we can't fathom why. He isn't the type to cave in to blackmail and it just doesn't compute." · 

Disqus - noscript

There's a whiff of Action Directe, French far-leftist terror group of the 1980s who targeted companies that were part of the military-industrial complex, about this

Belgian Police are famous for not solving crime. Take the murder of Dr. Gerry Bull of Big Gun for Iraq as an example. It's a paedophiles paradise as evidenced by the Princess de Croy. Police split themselves into two major groups who are independent, do not cooperate and typically do not share evidence. Candidates at entrance are given a test which creams the best off to the Gendarmerie. This makes failure the qualification for entering the regular police.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.