Just before 10:00 am on Saturday 14 July 2019, 41-year-old Gurinderjit Rai was found dead by passing horse riders in the driving seat of a car parked in a roughly hewn lay-by almost directly opposite the entrance to Corhampton Golf Club in Hampshire. A post-mortem confirmed his fatal wounds were inflicted by a shotgun charge. Gurinderjit Rai was a drug dealer originally from Eastleigh but at the time of his murder he was living in Chester.


The location was in Shepherds Farm Lane which runs alongside the golf course. Despite being an isolated and quiet rural area, the lane is a well used minor road. The nearest village is Corhampton to the east. Eastleigh via Bishops Waltham is on the B3035 and just 13 miles to the west.

News reports claimed the police considered it was a, ‘targeted killing’. On the 16 July 2019 Hampshire Police made four arrests, three men in their 20’s from Winchester and one in his 30’s from Eastleigh. Other arrests followed. Locals interviewed on regional radio expressed surprise that such a violent shooting murder could take place in their peaceful countryside surroundings.

On the 07July 2020 Hampshire Police revealed that 7 people previously arrested had been brought back into custody. The concluding 2021 trial in Winchester Crown Court revealed that Gurinderjit Rai or “G” as he was known, was owed over one hundred thousand pounds for drugs transactions. Prosecutor, Andrew Langdon QC said that text messages between dealers had reached a crescendo in the weeks prior to the murder. The four men eventually accused procured a Mercedes Benz saloon car which was later dumped and set alight. The murder weapon was a sawn-off shotgun later recovered from a wood near the village of Whitchurch, north of Winchester.

On the 22 April 2021 Aston Hannis and Charlie Statham both from the Eastleigh and Winchester area received life sentences for the murder of Gurinderjit Rai. Two other accomplices received sentences for manslaughter.

The question was, why was Gurinderjit Rai lured there, did he know the area? Was the golf club significant? What connection or relevance did the location have to the perpetrators? Criminal Psychologists and Profilers attach significance to the location of where murders are committed. It transpired in the police investigation that the group had indeed planned the murder and the chosen location was significant because the four of them were going to base themselves in a nearby property on the pretext that they were there for a lads weekend, watching sport on TV.

On the night of the murder they had left their phones in the property to protect themselves from the investigation that would follow and the possibility that their movement history could be tracked. However they overlooked the investigators tenacity. Police detectives discovered the group had been carrying out some pre-planning reconnaissance in their cars in the weeks preceding. To confirm this they approached a landowner who had a property entrance on Corhampton Lane, a short distance from Corhampton Golf Club and the murder site. This owner was able to provide CCTV footage of the perpetrators passing his property in their cars. The eventual trial was able to secure convictions based on many factors but CCTV footage and phone tracking data in the planning phase of this murder was considerable and something the perpetrators had overlooked.

What prompted my immediate interest in this shooting murder was what I refer to as the Morstead shoot route, a road I have studied for 6 years. This minor road extends for 9 miles running SE from Winchester as the Morstead Road and concluding opposite the golf course as Corhampton Lane at the B3035. A staggered junction opposite is the northern end of Shepherds Farm Lane. At the Morstead Road junction in 2017 the Highways Authority replaced a large direction sign that had been damaged by penetration gunfire signatures and shotgun pattern blast on at least three separate occasions.

When I asked the authority at the time why they had changed the sign, (top image 2019), they advised me it was a road safety initiative and the previous structure had been ‘vandalised’, as you can see in the lower image taken in 2015. The engineer I communicated with said he was unaware of any gunfire damage. This structure is 100 metres from the Corhampton Golf Club boundary.

I had found two other locations on the Morstead route, two and four miles south of this junction. Both had been penetrated by single .45 bullet. This calibre of ammunition is globally commonplace and is a popular handgun round. One structure was replaced in 2017, one remains. Hampshire Police have been made aware of these firearm incidents in the past. Other examples of .45 single shot signatures can still be found having penetrated structures in nearby Anmore and Denmead.

None of my studies in this vicinity implies any direct connection to the murder of Gurinderjit Rai but it is trait that I have seen before close to other rural shooting murder sites in the UK and France. 

In March 2019, Daniel Forestier was shot to death in almost identical circumstances in a pull in area alongside a rural road in SE France. His death remains a mystery. There is absolutely no connection between the shootings but the methodology and location choice was the same.

To the east of his murder site is a forest, criss-crossed by a road network. Just 2.0 km from the site there is a route exiting a wooded area called the Route de Planbois. A steel/alloy road-sign has been freshly penetrated by 2 x 9mm bullets. It was easy to ascertain where the perpetrator had discharged a weapon from. There is no evidence of lichen, (green staining), or water ingress which is the standard process when a structure is penetrated by bullets and the facing membrane is punctured and exposed. Daniel Forestier had been shot with a handgun.

Rural gunfire damage is commonplace in France and it follows the same pattern as the UK. The same question however – Who and why? Why are so many rural shooting murder sites close to where people have illegally discharged firearms; is it a coincidence or a consequence.