Crowds of people turned out for a ‘justice walk’ in memory of a beloved Doncaster boxer who died aged just 21 after being shot at a family pub.
Tom Bell’s loved ones were united in their grief as they walked the two miles from the site of his former amateur gym, Doncaster Plant Works Amateur Boxing Club to the Maple Tree pub in Plantation Road, Balby where Tom was fatally shot on Thursday evening.
Organisers described the event as a ‘justice walk,’ the aim of which was to honour Tom and to send out the message that ‘gun and knife crime will not be tolerated’.
Among the marchers was Tom’s mum, Tracy Langley, who described the turn out as ‘amazing’.
“Tom would have loved it,” said the 51-year-old.
Commenting on the type of person Tom was, she added: “He was loveable. He’d come out with the most stupid things, he always had everyone in laughter all the time.”
“Boxing was his life, he could have been a champion,” added Tracy, of Intake.
“If anyone has any information, no matter how small, please contact the police.”
Paul Harrison was one of the organisers and trained Tom in boxing when he was a teenager.
“The response from people that have come out, and on social media, shows how loved Tom was. He was a lovely, brilliant person and boxer. He had a bright future ahead of him in boxing,” said Paul.
He added: “No-one deserves to die like he did, shot through a window. It’s disgusting and despicable.
“The police will find whoever did this, it won’t be long.”
Sam Foster is a coach at the Doncaster Plant Works Amateur Boxing Club and helped to organise the event with Paul.
“We wanted to demonstrate how much we loved Tom, and the fact this shouldn’t be happening. You don’t think something like this is going to Doncaster.”
Sam described how even after Tom became a professional boxer at the age of 18, he would still return to the Plant Works to ‘help and support the little kids along’.
“It’s difficult to come to terms with what has happened,” added Sam.
As Tom’s loved ones reached the Maple Tree, people laid flowers, boxing gloves and balloons, adding to the dozens of tributes already left by mourners.
Emergency services were called to the Maple Tree Pub on Plantation Road at 8.45pm, where Tom was found injured with suspected gunshot wounds.
He was treated by the ambulance service at the scene and then taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after.
Detectives found a burnt-out white BMW One Series, just off White Cross Lane, Loversall yesterday that they believe is linked to the fatal shooting.
Chief Inspector Steve Handley said: “Yesterday we found a burnt out white BMW 1 Series just off White Cross Lane in Doncaster. The car has since been recovered and forensic work is now underway, however we do believe that this vehicle was involved in the incident and used by the offenders.
“We need to piece together the vehicle’s movements before 8.45pm last night and I’m asking anyone who saw a car matching that description in the area to contact us.
“In particular, I’m keen to hear from anyone who may have dashcam footage which shows the car. There are a number of businesses near to the pub and housing estates and many people would have no doubt been leaving work and travelling home earlier that evening– do you have dashcam footage of your car, did you see anything?
“There may also have been a number of taxis in the area and drivers could have footage which could assist with enquiries. If you have any footage, please contact us - we need to establish where this vehicle has been so we can identify and detain those involved.
“I fully appreciate that this incident has shocked both the local and wider community however I’d like to confirm that we are treating this incident as targeted and believe those involved were known to each other.
“Officers will remain in the area this evening and into tomorrow. If you have any information that could assist the investigation, please call either 101 quoting incident number 796 of 17 January 2019 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”