Two men charged with the murder of Jason Martin-Smith in Hastings

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Detectives have charged two men with the murder of Jason Martin-Smith in Hastings in 2001.

Officers from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team made four arrests on Wednesday (25 February) related to the investigations into Mr Martin-Smith and Jimmy Millen who were murdered in Hastings in 2001.

Mark Searle, 36 of Chambers Road, St Leonards, has been charged with the murder of Mr Martin-Smith on August 22, 2001 as well as conspiracy to kidnap and perverting the course of justice.

Steve McNicol, 42, of Whitefrairs Road, Hastings, has been charged with the murder of Mr Martin-Smith on August 22, 2001 and conspiracy to kidnap. They will appear at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Friday (27 February).

A 46-year-old St Leonards man who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder Mr Millen, has been released on bail until May 21 and a 34-year-old man from St Leonards who was arrested on suspicion of murdering Mr Martin-Smith and conspiracy to murder Mr Millen has been bailed until 2 April.

Mr Millen aged 27 was shot as he worked on his car in Tile Barn Road, Hastings on October 24, 2001. A passenger on a black motorbike fired shots from a handgun at him and he staggered into Carpenter Drive when he collapsed and later died.

The bike rode off from Tile Barn Road where Mr Millen was shot and past the junction of Lancaster Road. It then went toward the Castleham Industrial Estate.

During this investigation information came to light that 28-year-old Mr Martin-Smith, an acquaintance of Millen, who had disappeared in August 2001 in Hastings had been abducted and murdered. His body has never been found.

Detective chief inspector Paul Rymarz from the Major Crime Team said: “These charges represent a significant step forward in this case from 2001 and I hope they reassure the public that we will be relentless in its approach to such serious cases.

“We also want to reiterate our appeal for information from the public on both cases which can be given anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers.”

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting Operation Fare or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.