A children's author originally from Dorset who was gunned down outside his home has died in hospital, his family have said.

James Nash was shot in the head in Upper Enham in Hampshire on Wednesday, just after 3pm.

The gunman, named locally as Alex Sartain, fled the scene on motorbike and crashed a short time later and died.

Children’s author and artist James had been fighting for his life at Southampton General Hospital.

Yesterday, his mother Gillian Nash, speaking from the family home in Sherborne, said he had sadly died.

Replying to well-wishers, Gillian wrote: “Thank you very much for your comments. Very sadly I have to tell you that James Nash died of his brutal injuries today.

“His father, his sister and I are in a total state of shock and grief.

“We have lost a beautiful, talented son and brother.”

Mr Nash has been described as an active parish councillor who was heavily involved with the local community.

Mr Nash, whose wife is a senior scientist for the Science and Technology Facilities Council, is a self-employed artist who writes childrne's books. 

Witnesses said a motorcyclist was seen driving "around 100mph" on Wednesday as he was being chased by police from the scene.

The rider died at the scene of crash, according to Hampshire Police, who have launched an investigation. 

The shooting took place in the village of Upper Enham, where Nash, 42, and his wife, Sarah, lived in a cottage.

The shooting suspect is believed to have left the scene on foot before jumping on to a motorcycle. The 34-year-old crashed the bike three miles away during a police chase.

An address in the village of Enham Alamein, half a mile from Nash’s home, was searched as part of the investigation.

One resident said: “He would literally do anything for anyone.”

On his blog, Nash described himself as “a naturalist, first and foremost devoted to the conservation of our wild world”. The author and illustrator’s books include The Winter Wild from 2016.

Phil North, leader of Test Valley borough council, sought to reassure residents, telling them officers were “confident” that the motorcyclist was the attacker.

He said: “I know this will be a very worrying time for the community, and until the police complete their investigations we won’t get a full understanding of the incident.”

A Hampshire police spokesperson said the force has made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The spokesperson said: "The motorcyclist, a 34-year-old man, died at the scene. Detectives are continuing to investigate the circumstances of these incidents. Detectives do not believe there are any outstanding suspects in this investigation.”

The Nashes’ house is on a quiet country lane next to the Enham Trust, a charity providing support and care for the vulnerable and disabled.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “We are saddened by the events that took place yesterday afternoon, and our thoughts are with the individual affected.

“This is of course a worrying time for the community and we are supporting residents within the village, but can confirm that nobody supported by the Trust or staff were involved.”

Meanwhile, it has been revealed the motorcyclist who died had a criminal past.

Four years ago Sartain was handed a suspended prison sentence.

In April of 2016, Sartain admitted to stealing a quantity of clothing from TK Maxx during an incident earlier that month when he appeared in Basingstoke Magistrates' Court.

The then 29-year-old also pleaded guilty to stealing meat from Co-op and Marks and Spencer while still serving a suspended sentence.

An eight week prison sentence, suspended for two years, was imposed on Sartain in October 2015 for assaulting another man in Andover and for driving a vehicle along Shepherds Spring Lane while under the influence of drugs.

Sartain was sentenced to eight weeks in prison and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.