Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

Gunman who shot children's author was paranoid Nazi fanatic who thought neighbour was 'government spy'

A GUNMAN killed fleeing cops after blasting a neighbour in the head is a Nazi fanatic who believed the kids' author was spying on him.

Alex Sartain's own dad led police to a homemade shotgun used to critically injure James Nash in the horror in sleepy Upper Enham, Hants.

It has now been revealed the 34-year-old believed Mr Nash, who lived yards from the mechanic, was a "government agent" sent to spy on him.

One local, who is friends with Sartain's dad John, said the gunman seemed "agitated" on Tuesday the day before the shooting.

Tony Bennett claims he pointed at parish councillor Mr Nash's home and told him: "They are trying to get me sectioned".

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The resident added: "Because Mr Nash used to work in aerospace Alex got it in his head that this guy works for the government. He had it in his head that he was being spied on.

“A week ago Alex’s dad, John, had been trying to get him sectioned. Alex had been sectioned three times.

“On the day it happened John didn’t hear Alex go out or anything like that.

“His dad told me today that Alex always said he wanted to die on his motorbike."

Stunned locals say Sartain, who was released from jail four years ago for stealing clothes and meat from TK Maxx and Marks and Spencer, was "troubled".

The mechanic, who works at his dad's motorcycle garage in the village, is a Nazi fanatic who has 'liked' a string of vile leaders on Facebook – including Holocaust architect Heinrich Himmler.

Sartain has also liked public profiles for leader of the Nazi Stormtroopers in Berlin, Horst Wessel, as well as other Luftwaffe fighters.

His open Facebook also links to a page called 'I Hate Police', while his profile picture uses the quote: "I came with a warning label".

Mr Nash is now fighting for his life in hospital after being blasted in the head with the makeshift weapon.

His heartbroken mum Gillian Nash today revealed how she still has no update on her son's condition.

She told The Sun Online: "I don’t know anything about him (Sartain). The only thing I know is someone sent me a cutting of his previous crimes.

“James never mentioned him. He’s not the sort of person he would know.

“He’s helped a lot of people with a lot of difficulties so it might be someone he tried to help but he never mentioned him.

“He’s still fighting for his life, we haven’t heard anything yet. My husband is not well so my daughter has gone to the hospital today but she doesn’t know anything more yet.

“There’s no words basically. He’s a kind, gentle person. I can’t imagine why this would happen."

The horror came after Mr Nash submitted a planning application to erect an "agricultural building" close to where Sartain lived on the same road.

The proposal was made on June 18 and would have allowed Mr Nash to "store machinery necessary for the upkeep and cultivation of the surrounding land".

Aerial shots of the quiet road where the pair lived show Sartain's home close to the proposed building.

Mr Bennett said Mr Nash had been locked in disputes with his neighbours.

Police have not yet given a motive for the shooting and it is not clear he he objected to the plans.

 Some residents are stumped over why the mechanic, who works at his dad's motorcycle garage in the village, opened fire on his neighbour.

One villager said: "We don't know what caused the younger man to target James – there must have been a dispute of some sort.

"But I know that the shooter was a troubled soul."

The villager said he had heard that Mr Nash was fired at with a "homemade shotgun," adding the suspected gunman lived around 200 yards from Mr Nash and his wife.

Another local said: "Alex is the guy that crashed. My daughter knew him but I didn't think he was a bad person.

"I have heard there was some kind of issue between Alex and the Nash's but I don't know what it could be."

Armed cops had swooped on the quiet village of Upper Enham, Hants, at around 3pm yesterday.

The suspect attempted to flee on foot before jumping on a motorbike in a bid to evade capture.

He crashed on the A343 – three miles from the attack in Upper Enham, Hants, and was declared dead at the scene.

A 40-year-old woman assaulted during the attack sustained minor injuries.


Messages of support have now flooded in for Mr Nash, who also works as an artist.

He has been described as a man committed to his community who last year took on the role of Father Christmas in a local village hall.

Meanwhile, his wife Sarah works as a senior space scientist at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in Oxfordshire.

The parish councillor describes himself on his blog as "a naturalist, first and foremost devoted to the conservation of our wild world".

He is also a resident artist at The Hawk Conservancy Trust based in Andover, Hants, according to the site.


One local said: "He is a lovely guy. He would literally do anything for anyone. He helps out with lots of things.

"He is a really nice person whenever I have spoken to him."

Local Conservative Councillor Phil North, who described the incident as “absolutely horrific” said police had confirmed to him they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the shooting.

He described Mr Nash as a "kindhearted individual" who was a "hands-on" parish councillior.

Cllr North added: "He’s also a talented children’s author and illustrator and I was extremely touched last year when one of the dedications in his latest book was to my newborn daughter.

"My thoughts remain with James, his family and the people of Enham Alamein. I hope and pray he makes a good recovery.

"We’re all with you, James."

Hampshire Police confirmed they had referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, as is protocol.

They also said an address was also searched in Enham Alamein in connection with the investigation.


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