Walter Luebcke, whose body was found in his garden last Sunday by a relative, had been gunned down at close range with a single shot to the head.

Detectives in Germany investigating the fatal shooting of a prominent member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party have questioned a man.

Walter Luebcke, whose body was found in his garden last Sunday by a relative, had been gunned down at close range with a single shot to the head.

A man was taken into “provisional” custody in the case on Saturday, but German media has reported he was subsequently released.

The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said the person arrested had been known to the 65-year-old.

Mr Luebcke was a leading member of the ruling centre-right Christian Democratic Party and headed the Kassel regional government in the state of Hesse in central Germany.

Described as a “popular and extraordinarily approachable” man he had previously been subjected to far-right threats after speaking out in defence of migrants at the height of Europe’s 2015 refugee crisis.

At that time, Mrs Merkel threw open Germany’s borders to more than one million migrants, drawing criticism.

Mr Lubcke publicly supported allowing refugees to settle in the country and told anyone who opposed this that they were “free to leave”.

However, no link is being made between his killing and these earlier threats.

Mr Lubcke leaves a wife and two grown-up children.

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