THERE was a palpable sense of shock across Edinburgh yesterday as news spread of the cold-blooded murder of well-known local figure Bradley Welsh.

The execution-style shooting of Welsh, 48, a former boxing champion and reformed member of the notorious Hibs casuals, took place in Chester Street in the capital’s west end on Wednesday night.

He had left his Holyrood Boxing Gym to return home before 8pm but was shot in the head at point blank range in the stairwell leading to his basement flat where his partner and daughter were awaiting him. He died at the scene.

Welsh had become a charity worker and boxing coach in Edinburgh but the former amateur lightweight boxing champion of Britain was best known for his debut screen role as a gangland figure, Doyle, in the recent film Trainspotting 2. Tributes were paid to him yesterday by his friends, Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and the actor Tam Dean Burn, himself recently stabbed in Edinburgh in an unrelated incident.

Irvine Welsh tweeted: “Bradley John Welsh, my heart is broken. Goodbye my amazing and beautiful friend. Thanks for making me a better person and helping me to see the world in a kinder and wiser way.” Tam Dean Burn teeted: “So shocking to wake to the news of the shooting and murder of Brad Welsh, a Hibs through & through working class hero who did so much for the real grassroots Edinburgh.” Welsh secured his role in Trainspotting 2 thanks to a world record he set in which he sparred with 360 people that included the film’s director Danny Boyle.

In Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men on the Bravo channel in 2008, Bradley Welsh described his life as a violent Hibs casual in the 1980s.

In the interview he revealed that he had long since renounced that violent past, and many of the floral tributes and boxing memorabilia laid at his home and the Holyrood Gym yesterday mentioned his work for underprivileged children in Edinburgh. Dyer said on Instagram: “So sad to hear the news about Bradley Welsh. A good soul with a massive heart. A massive loss. Rest in Peace my old son.”

Local resident Alasdair Morton told reporters that armed police sealed off the area from Walker Street to Manor Place as someone had suffered a “gunshot wound to the head”.

He said: “I came out the house and we were told to go back in. Around three police cars and a black van drove along the street and the traffic then stopped.

“I initially thought it was a police escort then when I had a look there must have been a dozen or so police with guns pushing the traffic back.

“We’ve not been told anything but police waved through some ambulances.

“They said ‘there’s a gunshot wound to the head somewhere’. We could still hear noises that suggested there was a situation still going on.”

Speaking at a press conference, Superintendent Allan Burton said Welsh’s family have been left devastated by the killing.

He said: “His partner and young daughter were in the home and they are totally devastated and distraught. It seems unreal for them what has occurred. They had no indication what has happened, particularly on their doorstep. They are just really suffering and finding it really difficult to cope with their loss of their partner and father.”

The officer pledged to leave no stone unturned in the investigation: “All of Mr Welsh’s past will be looked at, his association, his friendships, his business contacts and people through his gym. We will find out who is responsible and we will bring them to justice.”