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Children’s Author Shot In The Head By His Neighbor

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A children’s author who was shot in the head in Hampshire has died.

James Nash was critically injured after he was attacked at his cottage earlier this week. The man thought responsible fled on a motorcycle and crashed and died as police gave chase.

The leader of Test borough council, Phil North, wrote on his Facebook page on Friday night: “It has been confirmed that James Nash has sadly died.”

He added: “This is such devastating news. I’m sure there will be many more tributes to James in the coming days and weeks – and in time an opportunity for the community to come together with his family to consider some form of lasting memorial to his life.”

It has been claimed that Alex Sartain, 34, who died as he tried to flee on his motorcycle after apparently shooting Nash, believed his victim was a government agent who was spying on him.

Nash’s wife, Sarah, a scientist, received minor injuries in the attack.

Detectives are continuing to try to pin down the motive for the shooting, which took place in the village of Upper Enham, near Andover, on Wednesday afternoon.

But a neighbour who knows the Sartain family claimed that Sartain had mental health issues and falsely believed Nash was keeping him under surveillance.

Tony Bennett, 55, who owns a bodyshop and restoration business in the village, said he spoke to Sartain the day before the shooting and he seemed agitated.

He said: “I saw Alex the day before and he pointed at Mr Nash’s house and said, ‘They are trying to get me sectioned.’

“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.”

Sartain was a mechanic by trade and was jailed in 2016 for a theft committed while on a suspended sentence for assault and for driving under the influence of drugs. His social media pages show he was interested in figures connected to Nazi Germany and once wrote: “I come with a warning label.”

Police have not said what weapon was used in the attack but some local people have claimed it was a homemade shotgun.

North earlier said officers were confident the deceased motorcycle rider was the perpetrator of the shooting.

Before the news of Nash’s death emerged, he described him as a “hands-on” councillor, North said: “I know James well and have worked with him on a number of projects. I’m still utterly shocked at this terrible incident.

“James is such a kind-hearted individual who cares deeply for his community. He is 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.”

Hampshire police said investigations were at an early stage but they did not believe there were any outstanding suspects.

Sartain is believed to have initially fled the scene on foot before trying to get away on a motorbike. He was involved in a fatal crash on an A-road about 3 miles from Nash’s home.

Nash, who is also an artist, had written children’s books including the self-illustrated The Winter Wild.

The fatal motorcycle crash has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

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