East Harling murder: police aim to trace Peter Wrighton’s final movements
PUBLISHED: 08:06 11 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:50 11 August 2017
In one of the last moments of his life, Peter Wrighton was seen on CCTV buying a few small items from a village shop - going about his ordinary life as anyone would do.
Little more than 30 minutes later, the “kind and gentle” 83-year-old was found dead in an area of Norfolk woodland, having been subjected to one of the most brutal murders county police officers have ever seen.
Detectives revealed they had managed to piece together some of the last moments of the 83-year-old former British Telecom worker’s life, with security camera footage showing him at Kenninghall Post Office between 10.08am and 10.12am on Saturday, August 5 - the day of his death.
Wearing a black t-shirt and grey trousers, footage released by Norfolk Constabulary shows him walking slowly towards the till to buy a few small items before heading on his way.
His body was found in woodland near East Harling, where he had travelled to walk his dogs, at 10.46am.
The 4.5-mile journey takes about 15mins to drive, meaning investigators would appear to have narrowed down the time of the brutal attack to a ten or 15 minute period.
However officers said they still need the public’s help to trace Mr Wrighton’s final steps - and gave descriptions of three people they want to speak to in connection with the incident.
The details of the three people, who were not necessarily seen together, came from witnesses in the area at the time.
DS Andy Smith, from Norfolk Police, said they have not been declared suspects and are people officers have not been able to trace, yet might have vital information.
The men are described as:
■ White man, aged over 50, of a slim build with pale skin with grey or white hair which is balding on top. It is believed he was wearing heavy rimmed glasses and light coloured trousers. He was seen in The Street changing into a white t-shirt.
■ White man with a tanned complexion, aged 25 to 30 years old, between 5ft 9in and 5ft 11in tall. He is of athletic build with short dark wavy hair and dark eyes. It is believed he was wearing a grey or blue t-shirt and grey floppy gym-style shorts above the knee and heavy duty flip flops.
■ White man, aged 30 to 50 years old, of a medium build wearing dark coloured clothing. He was seen walking without a dog in the northern area of the heath.
More than 100 officers are now working on DS Smith described as a “large scale, complex, detailed investigation”, which has included forensic analysis of the scene, house-to-house enquiries and extensive searches of the area.
He praised the public’s response to the police appeal, saying the force had taken “hundreds of calls” - but said: “We need the public’s help.
“We want to help Peter’s family and people in the area. This was a particularly brutal murder and to do this, we need to piece together Peter’s final movements to understand what happened to him and why.
“We need to speak to anyone who has recently visited or frequents the area where the body was found.
“We want to hear from you if you know someone who has information but is reluctant to come forward themselves.”
Norfolk Police has also released a poster appealing for information.
The main question from many in the community is why the culprit would attack an innocent, elderly man so viciously.
DS Smith said: “There is no one motive we’re focusing on. Our role is to maintain an open mind.”
He also said the force would not go into details about Mr Wrighton’s injuries for operational reasons.
Anyone with information should phone the dedicated numbers set up to deal with calls about the incident, which are 0800 056 0944 or 0207 158 0010, quoting Operation Graduate.
Alternatively people can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.