i on europe


Brussels blog by some wire service journalists

ExxonMobil executive gunned down in Belgium

Nicholas Mockford


BRUSSELS — So far, it’s still a mystery.

A British oil executive gunned down in front of his wife in the Belgian capital of Brussels. Helmeted assailants escaping on a motorcycle. No arrests. A driver of a white van who has not been found. A court order for police not to reveal the details.

Was the killing of Nicholas Mockford, a 60-year-old executive for ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, a car-jacking gone wrong? A muffed purse-snatching? Or was it a cold-blooded professional hit for reasons yet unknown?

Mockford, a British national living in Belgium, was shot dead on Oct. 14 as he left an Italian restaurant in Neder-over-Heembeek — a village in medieval days that has since been swallowed up by the expanding capital. He died in the street as his wife cradled him in her arms and a neighbor tried to resuscitate him.

In the beginning, the investigating judge imposed an order on police preventing them from releasing any detail on the case, which police said was not unusual in a serious murder case. As a result, initial news reports were sparse. But on Thursday, authorities switched course and decided to enlist the public’s help, releasing a brief description of the crime.



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