Dog walker mur­der: Po­lice search home of man in 20s

Daily Mail - - News - By Claire Duf­fin

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

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