Neighbours of shooting victim Bill Dowling and his partner have told of the dramatic moments leading up to their deaths yesterday morning.

Mr Dowling, a former Wiltshire Police inspector and his partner, were found dead from shotgun wounds in the living room of Mr Dowling's house at Moonraker in London Road, Devizes, at 11am after the alarm was raised by three neighbuurs.

A woman, who lives opposite Mr Dowling, told how she heard two bangs between 8.40 and 8.45am.

She was outside when she heard the bangs, the second of which was softer than the first.

"I thought at first it was a loose door slamming," she said.

She said her young daughters, aged seven and 15, came running out to ask if she had heard the bangs. They told her they had heard screams just before the first of the bangs.

She checked the house and found nothing, so went shopping in Melksham with her daughters, She got a phone call from her son just after 11 telling her to come home because of the police outside.

She met another neighbour who lives next door to Mr Dowling.

He told her he and his wife had heard arguing and noises that sounded like moving furniture.

They had been about to leave to go out in the car when his wife said she felt something was wrong because there was blood on the glass front door and, when he looked through the window, had seen two bodies.

They and another neighbour called police, who arrived shortly afterwards. She said police broke into the house by the back door and more officers began to arrive.

The woman living  opposite said it took until 12.30 before the door was covered up and a tent was put up around the front of the house at 2.30pm.

She has lived at the house for ten years and knew Mr Dowling and his partner well.

"They were good neighbours and if we had a problem we could always go to them, for example if you were going on holiday.

"In all the time we have been a problem that you could see, this is a quiet area and I'm happy to let my daughter play on the green. It is very shocking, we don't know why it happened."

She said Mr Dowling's partner, known to them only as Vicky, did not live with Mr Dowling but was often seen coming and going to the house.

Neighbour Sandra Nairn, 54, lives three doors away and said they were a pleasant couple. She works in Marks & Spencer and would see them in there.

"They always stopped and chatted," she said. "They were a nice couple."