Dog walker murder: Police search home of man in 20s
POLICE investigating the murder of an 83-year-old dog walker were yesterday searching a £500,000 family home and questioning a man in his 20s who lives there.
Forensic officers were at the property, in the village of Cringleford near Norwich – around 20 miles from the murder scene.
Peter Wrighton, from Banham, Norfolk, a married father-of-two, was found in woodland near the village of East Harling, about five miles from his home, more than a week ago. He had been walking his dogs who stayed with body until he was discovered.
Officers initially believed he may have been the victim of an animal attack but a post-mortem examination found he had died of multiple stab wounds.
On Saturday, detectives arrested a man in his 20s on suspicion of murder. It is not clear where he was held. He remained in custody last night after they were given a further 12 hours to question him.
Police and specialist forensic teams have carried out searches at various addresses, including the detached house in Cringleford, on the banks of the River Yare, where officers stood guard yesterday.
A neighbour said the family who live there own five dogs. She said one young man living at the property often walked the dogs.
A Norfolk police spokesman said: ‘We can say it’s one of a number of locations which are linked to the ongoing investigation.’
Neighbours said the smart, family home on a recently built housing estate belonged to a couple with several children, who were teenagers or young adults.
Many of them have not been seen for a month since they flew to New Zealand on holiday, but it is thought at least one of their adult sons stayed at home.
More than 100 Norfolk police officers and staff have been working on the case following the discovery of Mr Wrighton’s body at 10.45am on Saturday, August 5.
He was described by his family as ‘a lovely, gentle husband, dad and grandfather’.
The retired BT engineer, who lived with his wife Ann, 76, had driven to woodland near East Harling, Norfolk, in his red Skoda Fabia to walk his dogs Dylan and Gemma, when he was killed.
Yesterday, it emerged that in a Google street view image Mr Wrighton can be seen trimming the hedge in the drive of his home.
Police swooped on the house in Cringleford in the early hours of Saturday, with neighbours awaking to find police cars and forensic vans in the street. The property is on the corner plot of a cul-de-sac and has a double garage. One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘We woke up to see all this police activity across the road and didn’t know what was going on.
‘We just assumed there had been a burglary but then we saw these men and women in white suits going in with evidence bags. We thought it must be serious.
‘They’ve been there for almost two days now. Apparently, they’re digging up the garden as well.
‘The parents haven’t been there for weeks since the schools broke up and they went to New Zealand. I think they left a couple of the grown-up kids behind.
‘They have a good few dogs and so I would see one of their sons walking up and down the road most days. He’ll wave and say hello when he’s passing, but he doesn’t stop and chat.
‘The last time I saw him was Friday morning. I’ve not seen him or the dogs since.’
Another woman, who also did not wish to be named, said: ‘It’s a nice area round here, there’s never any problems. We’re tucked away out of the way and everyone keeps themselves to themselves.’
Residents said the family had lived there since around 2014 when the housing development which is popular with young families was built. The mother is said to be a teaching assistant at a local primary school. Neighbours told how they had been visited by CID officers who had revealed the house search was related to the murder of Mr Wrighton.
People living nearby were asked to check their bins for weapons or anything unusual.
On Saturday, police stopped drivers near the murder scene to carry out checks one week on from the discovery of Mr Wrighton’s body. They spoke to more than 700 people as part of the checks.
Detective Superintendent Andy Smith said: ‘We are extremely pleased and grateful for the response from the public yesterday at the scene, which has helped us to identify further witnesses.
‘We have also obtained dash cam footage, which will be downloaded to assist our enquiries.’
‘They’re digging up the garden’
Victim tends his garden... on Google Street View Murdered: Peter Wrighton, inset, and a Google image of him cutting his hedge
Search: Police at the house in Cringleford yesterday