A MAN murdered at 7am in secluded woodland off the M62 was blasted multiple times from behind by a gunman.

John Kinsella, 53, was repeatedly shot near Rainhill Stoops, by a killer who was riding a mountain bike on Saturday.

Mr Kinsella, who had links to the region’s gangs underworld, was walking his dogs with his partner on a route he took regularly.

It has been reported that the gunman may have tried to fire at Mr Kinsella's partner as she scrambled away to escape the scene,

The father-of-one’s death is the subject of a murder investigation led by Merseyside Police’s Major Crime Unit.

The murder has the hallmarks of a targeted, cold blooded hit. However, detectives would not be drawn on a potential motive but conceded they are exploring Mr Kinsella’s past.

Mr Kinsella previously served time in prison for robbery and has been described in past court proceedings as an underworld “fixer”.

Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Green said: “As part of our investigations, it is important to look into where this happened and how this could have taken place, so we will be looking into Mr Kinsella’s past.

At the moment we have no information to link this incident to others.”

The gunman is believed to have been wearing a high-vis jacket. He is described as 6ft and of medium build.

Police hope the location close to the motorway’s Liverpool-bound slip road could mean drivers have dashcam footage.

The slip road has now been sealed off for several days while police carry out a painstaking investigation.

Det Chief Supt Green said Mr Kinsella was targeted from behind and hit multiple times.

He said: “We believe it was a handgun that was used and as part of our forensic examinations of the scene and ballistics we are working to identify the make of the gun.

“Mr Kinsella was a treasured partner, father and brother and his family are understandably devastated about his death. 

“We would like to appeal for anyone that was in the vicinity of Rainhill Stoops slip road towards Liverpool, down Warrington Road and towards Widnes and Warrington between 6.30am and 7.30am please call our forces on 0151 7778618 or 101. 

“We are particularly interested if anyone had any dash cam footage, but if you were also walking your dogs, cycling or anything please get in touch and help us put whoever did this behind bars. 

“I understand the public will be concerned, but incidents like this are still very very rare, they are tragic and horrendous when they take place, but this wasn’t a random attack. 

“A number of people have already come forward to help with the investigation and we are extremely grateful for that.”

The Press Association reports Mr Kinsella had links to the city’s underworld and stopped a gangster terrorising footballer Steven Gerrard.

Mr Kinsella had served time in jail for his part in a £41,000 robbery in Grantham, Lincolnshire in 2006.

He went on the run shortly before a jury found him guilty of stealing thousands of pounds worth of detergents, crisps and Easter eggs.

He was captured in Amsterdam in 2009 and began a 10-year jail term in Lincoln prison.

During his trial, the jury heard how Kinsella had stopped a gangster terrorising then Liverpool football star Steven Gerrard.

The court was told Kinsella was asked by Paul Gerrard, father of the then Reds’ star, to intervene after he said his son was being terrorised by a gangster known as the “Psycho”.

In a letter that was read out in court Mr Gerrard Senior told of his family’s gratitude after “threats from the Liverpool underworld” stopped.
Crimestoppers: 0800555111