A manhunt has been launched after intruders shot dead a businessman in his £1m ($1.29m) home during a botched burglary.

Guy Hedger, whose birth name was Peter, died in hospital after he was shot by burglars who entered his house in St Ives, east Dorset, early on Saturday (30 April).

Dorset Police have confirmed that a murder investigation has been launched.

Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Derbyshire said: "At this stage, we are still trying to establish exactly what happened at the address in Castlewood and how and why the victim was shot dead.

"Currently we do not believe the offenders were known to the victim. However, we continue to investigate all lines of enquiry.

"I am appealing for anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area or was in the area at that time, to contact Dorset Police as soon as possible

"There will be a heavy police presence in the vicinity and officers from the local Neighbourhood Policing Team will be carrying out high visibility patrols to offer reassurance to the community and can be contacted with any concerns."

It was later confirmed the suspects were burglars.

Superintendent Kevin Connolly told the Times: "We are treating this as an aggravated burglary which resulted in the shooting of an innocent man and there were at least two intruders. The offenders, we believe, went in to steal and then subsequently shot an innocent man.

"We are working with ballistics experts. Upon the conclusion of their evaluation we'll know a lot more detail [about the firearm]."

Hedger, 61, is believed to have shared the gated property with his long-term partner Simon-Pierre Hedger-Cooper.

Police said a second person in the house at the time of the shooting was "deeply affected by the incident" and they were being supported by specially trained officers.

It was reported that Hedger was a marketing director at Avonbourne International and Business and Enterprise Trust, which manages schools in Bournemouth, Dorset.

He previously worked as a marketing manager for insurance firms Direct Line and L.V. and was crowned general insurer of the year at the British Insurance Awards in 2012.