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Animal attack ruled out in East Harling murder case

PUBLISHED: 08:57 11 August 2017 | UPDATED: 07:13 12 August 2017

Police press conference for the East Harling murder. Left to right, chief superintendent Mike Fawcett, detective superintendent Andy Smith and corporate communications manager Nicola Atter. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Police press conference for the East Harling murder. Left to right, chief superintendent Mike Fawcett, detective superintendent Andy Smith and corporate communications manager Nicola Atter. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

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Animal attack injuries have been ruled out as a potential cause of East Harling murder victim Peter Wrighton’s death, police have said.

The police poster appealing for information in the East Harling murder of Peter Wrighton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe police poster appealing for information in the East Harling murder of Peter Wrighton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The 83-year-old Banham resident’s body was discovered in Norfolk woodlands at 10.46am on Saturday, August 5 - little more than 30mins before he had been seen on CCTV in Kenninghall Post Office, a 15min drive away.

When police arrived, the nature of Mr Wrighton’s injuries meant his death was “treated as unexplained from the outset”, said DS Andy Smith, from Norfolk Police.

As a result detectives looked into what he described as a “number of possible reasons and explanations”, adding: “Animal attack was considered.”

Police are still searching for the break through in the East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLYPolice are still searching for the break through in the East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

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It was not until the results of a post mortem examination were received on Sunday that police were able to definitively say the injuries showed that Mr Wrighton had been murdered.

On Monday, officers confirmed they had launched a murder inquiry and began door-to-door enquiries to gather information and piece together the final moments before the killing.

They have since urged people to contact them with information and check their bins for the murder weapon.

DS Smith said: “We need the public’s help.

Peter Wrighton. Photo: Norfolk Police/PA WirePeter Wrighton. Photo: Norfolk Police/PA Wire

“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.”

MORE: Vicar visits East Harling murder victim Peter Wrighton’s family to offer support



MORE: ‘He used to donate to the foodbank at the church’ - villagers react to Peter Wrighton’s brutal murder



Norfolk Police has also released a poster appealing for information.

DS Smith has 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.

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