Published: 14:33, 23 June 2021
| Updated: 10:19, 24 June 2021
The shooting of a pub landlord who was killed with his own gun remains unsolved more than three-and-half years on.
Two men have been jailed for firearm offences after they were linked to weapons found during the investigation into Joe Daniels' death.
Mr Daniels was found unresponsive inside the Red Cow pub, in Foord Road, Folkestone, at around 11.30am on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.
He had a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene, where a firearm was also recovered.
Since the shooting, detectives have carried out extensive inquiries and appealed for witnesses to come forward.
Officers have reviewed more than 1,000 hours of CCTV and dashcam footage, taken more than 350 statements and seized more than 1,200 items.
Arrests have been made over the years but the person, or persons, responsible for his death is yet to be found.
At an inquest, held last year, it was heard that the pistol and ammunition found at the scene next to Mr Daniels' body belonged to him.
A statement from a family friend, read out by DS Shelley Chantler, said the father-of-one had shown his friends a pair of handguns that he had in his possession – one of which would inflict the fatal wound just a day later.
It is not known why he had the weapons but the pistol that fired in the incident had only the Liverpudlian's DNA on it.
The inquest also heard how Mr Daniels was £101,451 in debt, with some of this owed to friends.
Coroner Katrina Hepburn told the inquest there was no way of knowing who had fired the shot, or whether or not someone had entered or left the property at any point in the lead up or immediate aftermath of the incident.
Recording a narrative conclusion, she said: "Based on the evidence before us, we can say that Mr Daniels was shot with his own gun and his own ammunition.
"We cannot say whether or not he inflicted the wound on himself for any reason, or if someone - be it an acquaintance or stranger- was present or shot Mr Daniels.
"Another possibility is accidental discharge but once again I am left unable to confirm this on the evidence presented."
During the hearing, Mr Daniels was described as the life of the party, and someone who was "very much suited to his work as a pub landlord".
The two cases stemmed from the investigation into the death of Mr Daniels.
Two of the men, Eli Smith and Robin Ling – who were eliminated from inquiries in relation to Mr Daniels' death – were charged with multiple offences in relation to the firearms recovered at the pub.
Forensic examination of the two converted blank-firing pistols which were found at the Red Cow led to Smith and Ling.
Both men were arrested and items were found at Smith's house which were suspected to have been used for the conversion of firearms.
A further home-made gun was also found in Smith's car.
But Kent Police say Mr Daniels' death is still a mystery.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Greenstreet said: "The tragic death of Mr Daniels remains unsolved and our thoughts are with his family, who we have kept updated throughout our enquiries.
"Eli Smith and Robin Ling are no longer being investigated in relation to Mr Daniels' death and have been eliminated from this part of our enquiries.
"However, the investigation into his death led to the seizure of a number of firearms and the jailing of a man who converted pistols to be used by criminals to threaten, injure and terrify victims."