THE murder of a father-of-two, who was shot dead outside his Virginia Water home, could have been the victim of a contract killing, according to police.

The news of the murder of Daniel Blackett of Sandhills Lane, did not surprise some of the town's residents, who claimed they had been suspicious of his business dealings for a long time.

The 36-year-old man was found with three gun shot wounds on Saturday at about 8.20pm, when a gunman fired at least five shots at him.

Bullets were later recovered by officers between the front door of his property and the garage.

A neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The residents have always been concerned about how he could afford to live in such an affluent area and we have speculated that he may have connections to the underworld."

His views were echoed by Councillor John Whitely, who called it an "most unfortunate incident." He said: "There has been a lot of disappointment and sadness about this tragic murder, but no great surprise within our community.

Police officers were called to his Blissford Lodge home, after being alerted by the ambulance service.

He was taken to St Peter's Hospital, in Guildford Road, Chertsey, but was pronounced dead.

Surrey Police immediately sent a helicopter to search the surrounding countryside to try and find the gunman, and also closed the road leading to his property to preserve the scene.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Sunday morning, which confirmed Mr Blackett had been shot three times.

Detective Inspector Robert Cousins, of the murder investigation team, said: "We are currently undertaking a consolidation phase, to gather forensic evidence inside and outside the victim's home.

"We are aware of the rumours that Mr Blackett had dodgy business dealings and that residents were curious about how a young man could afford to live in that area, but we are not willing to confirm that these rumours are founded.

"It is possible that this could have been a contract killing, as a shooting is so out of the ordinary in Virginia Water, but it is still too early to be certain, which is why we are trying to investigate the victim's background.

"However, we are not ruling out other motives, which include that this crime could have been a burglary gone wrong, as Mr Blackett was standing near his Porsche."

Surrey Police has also confirmed that Mr Blackett, who lived with his partner, Nicola Jackson, his 11-year-old son and baby daughter, had been involved in car dealings and had also done some building work.

Anyone who had business dealings with Mr Blackett, or knew the victim should call 0845 125 2222.