A MAN shot dead in front of his girlfriend by a cyclist was a serving prisoner at HMP Thorn Cross on day release.

Carl Russell, 27, was gunned down in Belle Vale, Liverpool, as he and his partner got out of a car on Sunday morning.

Police are continuing to appeal for information about the targeted shooting in Cornwood Close shortly before 11.30am.

Mr Russell, who survived a previous attempt on his life in 2010, had been serving a sentence at the category D open jail in Appleton Thorn.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "HMP Thorn Cross prisoner Carl Russell was pronounced dead on Sunday, October 7.

"We are working closely with Merseyside Police and it would be inappropriate to comment further while there is an ongoing police investigation."

In a statement, his family said: "Carl was an amazing son, brother, uncle, nephew and boyfriend who idolised his true love Lakyn.

"Carl was a mummy's boy who loved his pops. He would do anything for anyone and had a heart of gold.

"His family and Lakyn were his world. Carl was no angel – he was our lovable rogue.

"At this difficult time we would appreciate the time to grieve and comprehend the loss of Carl in this cold-blooded murder."

READ > Six suspects charged after grenade placed under car in Orford

Police enquiries are ongoing after a 33-year-old man and a 29-year-old man, both from Belle Vale, arrested in connection with the murder were released pending further investigations.

The gunman was believed to have been dressed in black with a high-vis orange jacket, and made off on the pedal bike in the direction of Madeira Drive.

He was said to have been aged in his late twenties and of medium build.