A man whose body was found ‘smoking’ and ‘covered in white powder’ in a village near Wigan has been named as a 38-year-old devoted father.
Liam Smith’s body was discovered on a residential street at around 7pm on Thursday in Shevington, a suburb of Wigan, Greater Manchester.
Police confirmed on Sunday he was fatally shot and had acid poured over his body.
In a brief statement released through Greater Manchester Police, his family said: ‘Liam was kind-hearted, funny, the life and soul of the party.
‘He was the most devoted dad, much-loved son, brother, grandson and uncle. He will sorely be missed by all who knew and loved him.’
They have asked for privacy while they grieve.
Police were called to Kilburn Drive in Shevington on Thursday shortly after a member of the public discovered Mr Smith’s body on a path between two houses which led to open fields.
Eyewitnesses said the scene was ‘very odd’, adding: ‘The body appeared to have smoke coming off it and was covered in white powder’, The Independent reports.
Greater Manchester Police previously said there were potentially ‘hazardous substances’ on the body, but stressed any risk to the wider public was very low.
A police cordon was set up while officers investigated the scene, with a forensic tent erected on the road inside the tape.
A post-mortem by the Home Office has been carried out, enabling identification of Mr Smith.
On Sunday police said: ‘Initial information indicates that the victim was the subject of a fatal gunshot wound and an acid attack.
‘Detectives are working tirelessly to establish the exact details of this murder, which took place in unique and shocking circumstances on a quiet residential street.
‘Following examination and tests, the hazardous substances are believed to not pose any further harm, threat or risk to the public in the surrounding area and have been contained.
‘A reminder, if anyone has had direct contact with the body at the time they should still speak to officers or seek medical advice immediately.’
Smith’s family are currently being supported by specialist officers, police said. A murder investigation has been launched.
A scene is currently still in place at the location with no disruption to the wider area.
Detective Chief Inspector Gina Brennand from GMP’s Major Incident Team said: ‘This is a shocking murder of a much-loved family man.
‘I have a team of detectives working around the clock and I urge anyone who has seen anything unusual or out of the ordinary near to the victim’s home during the day and early evening of Thursday 24 November to contact the Major Incident Room.
‘This is the first fatal shooting in the Manchester area for over two years and we are determined to recover the weapon and find Liam’s killer.’
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Detective Superintendent Alan Clitherow said: ‘It is a challenging set of circumstances, we have got dedicated officers from the Major Incident Team, obviously less than 24 hours into the investigation, so we are now unpicking exactly what has gone on.
‘We don’t know what the substance is, we have done some initial inquiries, we know it’s low risk, so as I mentioned before, anyone directly in contact with the body should seek medical advice if they feel unwell but there’s no wider risk to anyone else.’
Clitherow said members of the public should not be alarmed if they see officers wearing protective clothing to remove the body, saying this is ‘purely precautionary’.
A spokesperson from GMP Wigan said: ‘Police are working to identify the body and enquiries are ongoing, we are keen to speak to anyone who has any information about this incident.
‘Officers are out speaking to residents and are highly visible in the area. The scene is contained, and it is believed there is no wider risk to the surrounding area,’ added the spokesperson.