Woman, 58, found shot dead along with her retired policeman lover

Victoria Rose who was found dead alongside her partner Bill Dowling
Victoria Rose who was found dead alongside her partner Bill Dowling

The woman found shot dead along with her retired policeman lover was named today as Victoria Rose.

Victoria, 58 – known as Vicky – was found in the blood-splattered porch of Bill Dowling’s home in Devizes, Wilts., on Saturday morning.

She was his long-term partner but lived with her mother Val and sons Matt and Jonathan less than half-a-mile from the scene of the double shooting.

Victoria Rose who was found dead alongside her partner Bill Dowling
Victoria Rose who was found dead alongside her partner Bill Dowling

Bill’s mental health had been in “sharp decline” in the weeks before the double shooting, his family revealed today.

In a statement released through Wiltshire Police, his family said: “As a family we are trying to come to terms with the loss of a much loved father and grandfather.

“During the last three weeks Bill’s emotional and mental wellbeing have been in sharp decline and we are shocked and saddened by recent events.

“We are thinking of Vicki’s family.  We ask that you respect our privacy at this tragic time.”

A statement from the family of Vicky Rose paid tribute to her kind and caring character.

Her family said: “On behalf of the family it is with great sadness that we issue a small statement regarding Victoria Rose

“Mum, Victoria or Vicky was sadly taken away from us on Saturday.

“Words cannot describe how the family are feeling with this loss, for such a caring person and for anyone that knew her or had any contact with her, would know how she was always willing to help and chat to anyone.

“We have been so overwhelmed with messages of support in such a difficult time and we know how shocked people must be in hearing this sad news and still it doesn’t seem quite real.

Police outside Mr Dowling's home where he was found dead next to Ms Rose
Police outside Mr Dowling’s home where he was found dead next to Ms Rose

“What we do ask if the family can be left to grieve in this difficult time. Thank you.”

Speaking outside the three-storey property yesterday – where a police forensic van was parked outside – one of her sons declined to comment on the case.

He said: “I issued a statement through the police and I ask that all contact is done through them. It’s a very hard time for us at the moment.”

But a neighbour of Bill Dowling said: “Vicky was lovely. They both were.

 Bill Dowling
Bill Dowling

“I don’t know what must have happened – they always seemed so happy whenever I saw them.

“Then again, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, do you?

“When my husband died, Bill was one of the first people to come over and say that if I ever needed any help, all I needed to do was ask. That’s the type of man he was.

“Vicky was lovely – she always said hello. Everybody is devastated.”

Another neighbour said: “Vicky Rose lived with her mum.

“It’s too soon to go round there I think, but when some time has passed I’m going to give them some flowers.”

Police were called to Dowling’s semi-detached home on the Moonrakers estate on Saturday morning after neighbours heard gunshots.

Locals then found the bodies slumped on the floor in the property’s “blood splattered” porch.

Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths and have described the double shooting as an “isolated incident”.

Formal identification of the deceased was due to be completed yesterday.

Dowling was a former station commander at Marlborough Police Station in Wiltshire for nearly five years.

He left that role in 2004 and became a force operations rooms inspector in the tri-centre 999 control room in Devizes.

After retiring from the police in 2008 he worked for the Ministry of Defence with 43 (Wessex) Brigade at Tidworth, Wilts.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I think he was a bit lost when he retired.

“He was a policeman for so long, I think he didn’t know what to do with himself after he retired.

“Then he found something else to do, with the MoD I think.”

A number of floral tributes have been left outside his home and a forensic tent was still covering the porch yesterday as forensic examinations continued inside.

The home where Vicky lived is a three-storey redbrick terrace, in a quiet, new build housing estate just yards from the site of her murder.

Property website Zoopla lists the house as being worth around £210,000.

Dowling has two grown-up sons, James, 31, and Paul, 33, who live locally.


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