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Murdertown 4: Episode 5 - Mablethorpe

Emilia Fox standing on Mablethorpe beach
Image: Murdertown

Murdertown is a 360-degree investigation into the impact of a murder on a local community, through the eyes of those most immediately affected (friends and relatives of the victims and, in some cases, the accused) as well as those further afield, such as local crime reporters, investigating police officers, and criminologists.

In each episode, actor and presenter Emilia Fox visits the towns where murders took place to re-tell these tragic stories through the testimony of investigating police officers, local journalists, friends, relatives, and business colleagues: the people whose lives have never been the same since.

The fifth episode sees Emilia travel to the Lincolnshire coast to learn about the double execution murders of a couple in their 50s, John and Joan Stirland. The killings had links to organised crime in Nottingham and the investigation led to the downfall of one of Nottinghamshire’s most feared underworld gangsters.

Colin Gunn was Bestwood’s most renowned crime lord who evoked fear in the area. An investigation led by Lincolnshire Police revealed how the murders were commissioned in revenge for the death of Colin’s 19-year-old nephew, Jamie Gunn. The Gunn family believed Joan Stirland’s son Michael O’Brien to be responsible for Jamie’s death and sought revenge against his parents.

The Stirlands were placed into police protection after being targeted in a drive-by shooting. The couple eventually moved to the quiet seaside town of Mablethorpe and tried to live peacefully. However, they were unfortunately traced and killed in an organised hit, shocking the Mablethorpe community.

Gunn, John Russell and Michael McNee were charged with conspiring to murder the Stirlands, but the actual killer remains unknown.

Episode five of Murdertown S4 airs exclusively on Crime + Investigation on Sunday, 9th October at 9pm and is available to stream on Crime + Investigation PLAY from the 10th October.