A MURDER probe has been launched as police continue to investigate the death of a woman in a quiet Somerset village.

Details of the incident, in Winsford, West Somerset, unfolded after police were called to a property in the village at around 2.30pm on Saturday (February 22).

A member of the public contacted officers to raise concerns over the welfare of a woman, police said.

On arrival police - including firearms officers - discovered a woman in her 50s with 'severe injuries'.

Despite the best efforts of officers, she was pronounced dead at the scene, and a post-mortem has confirmed she died as a result of shotgun injuries.

A second woman, who is being treated as a key witness, was found nearby and taken to safety, uninjured.

"A further search of the premises located a 67-year-old man in an outbuilding," an Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said.

"He’d suffered serious injuries caused by a shotgun.

"He’s in police custody but was taken to a hospital in Devon for emergency treatment, where he remains in a critical but stable condition.

"A post-mortem examination has been carried out on the woman and the cause of death has been confirmed as shotgun injuries."

Formal identification has not yet taken place.

Det Supt Julie Mackay, of the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), said: “This is a very serious incident in which a woman has lost her life and we are deploying family liaison officers to support the next of kin.

“The scene remains cordoned off so further forensic enquiries and searches can take place over the next few days.

“We’re grateful to the local community for their support and understanding, and I’d urge anyone with concerns or questions to speak to a member of the local neighbourhood team who’ll be carrying out extra patrols over the coming days.

“Due to prior police contact with those involved, a mandatory referral has been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

"It would be inappropriate for us to go into further details while the referral is being considered.”

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