Seven bullets ploughed into Geoffrey Small, a 44-year-old newsagent, as he entered his shop in Sutton, Surrey, at 5.30 a.m. on SEPTEMBER 6th, 1976.

His killer had broken into the premises through a ground-floor window and sat awaiting him. The gunman had then walked past a customer who called to pick up a paper and who described him as about 45, five-foot-six, and slim with brown hair.

The police believed it was a contract killing. Robbery wasn’t the motive, they said, although the victim’s wallet containing £150 had been taken.

“Anybody but an absolute professional would find it very difficult to hit the target,” said the detective leading the investigation. “This bloke adopted what we call the double-tap method of firing – he fired two shots, bang bang, and then changed position, bang bang again.”

Why would anyone want Geoffrey Small dead? It was speculated that he was mistaken for the supergrass Bertie Smalls who had formerly lived in the district. But Smalls bore no resemblance to Small and the theory seemed far-fetched.

The police, however, were unable to discover any other reason why Geoffrey Small would be targeted, and his murder remains unsolved.