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Family hopeful of answers after brutal murder of 83-year-old Peter Wrighton in woodland near East Harling

PUBLISHED: 07:54 10 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:08 10 August 2017

Peter Wrighton, who has been named as the 83-year-old man who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry.

Peter Wrighton, who has been named as the 83-year-old man who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry.

The devastated family of a lovely, kind and gentle husband, dad and grandfather who was brutally murdered in Norfolk said they hope to soon have answers as to why he was killed.

Peter Wrighton, who has been named as the 83-year-old man who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry. Peter Wrighton, who has been named as the 83-year-old man who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry.

Peter Wrighton, 83, was stabbed multiple times in the neck and head as he walked his dogs in a frenzied attack in woodland close to the Fiveways junction, near East Harling.

The family of the father-of-two from Banham have described him as “a lovely, gentle husband, dad and grandfather” who loved walking his dogs.

They thanked members of the public who have come forward with information and hope they will “soon be able to understand why this has happened”.

A statement released by police on behalf of Mr Wrighton’s family paid tribute to his “kind nature” and his “love of walking his dogs and chatting with people to pass the time of day”.

Peter Wrighton, who has been named as the 83-year-old man who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry. Peter Wrighton, who has been named as the 83-year-old man who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry.

MORE: Dedicated phone lines set up by police for those with information about East Harling murder

He had worked for British Telecom for 35 years and retired to the area 30 years ago, where he enjoyed living a simple life with his family and dogs.

His wife of 59 years and his family added: “Peter was immensely kind and never had a bad word to say about anybody and people always seemed to take a liking to him.We are extremely thankful for all the people who have come forward to speak with the police and hope we will soon be able to understand why this has happened. When we think of Peter, we remember him with fond and happy memories that will stay with us always.”

The hunt for the killer is ongoing following the discovery of Mr Wrighton’s body on the morning of Saturday, August 5.

Dogs of East Harling murder victim who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry. Dogs of East Harling murder victim who was stabbed to death while walking his two dogs in East Harling, Norfolk. Picture Norfolk Constabualry.

The death was initially treated as unexplained.

MORE: Banham residents react to murder of Peter Wrighton in East Harling

But a murder probe was launched following a post-mortem examination which revealed Mr Wrighton had died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and head.

Police, who have about 50 officers working on the case, have received more than 100 calls from the public in just a few days.

Police have named Peter Wrighton, 83, of Banham, as the victim of the East Harling murder. Picture Norfolk Constabulary Police have named Peter Wrighton, 83, of Banham, as the victim of the East Harling murder. Picture Norfolk Constabulary

Yesterday they set up dedicated phone lines to take calls with information about the murder.

The phones are being manned by communications officers from Norfolk and other forces.

Chief Superintendent Mike Fawcett, Norfolk’s county policing commander, said: “I would like to reassure the public that we are following several lines of enquiry and are pleased the public are supporting us in our investigation. We have received more than 100 calls in the last three days and we would continue to urge people with information, particularly those who were in the area between 9am and 11am, to make contact.

MORE: Police investigating murder of Peter Wrighton from Banham in woodland near East Harling have received more than 100 calls from public

East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLY East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

“I would like to ask again, that if you live within five miles of The Street please can you check your bins, gardens and outbuildings for any items which may have been discarded by a potential suspect.

“I would also request that premises or businesses within the same area with CCTV systems preserve any footage that relate to the hours of 6am until 9pm on Saturday, August 5.

“Similarly, if you have a dash-cam or other recording devices and travelled in the area, save the footage and contact the police.”

The killing has caused concern and fear for people living in villages near to the scene but police have attempted to reassure the community.

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

Ch Supt Fawcett said: “We remain concerned that we have not yet been able to trace the person or people responsible for Peter’s death.

MORE: Police name 83-year-old Peter Wrighton from Banham as victim of brutal murder in woodland near to East Harling

“I hope residents will take some reassurance from the increased policing presence today which will be continuing throughout the evening and as long as is necessary, but I am aware that this incident will be causing some to worry.

“I would ask people to remain vigilant and to contact us if they see anything suspicious.”

East Harling murder. Banham village. Picture : ANTONY KELLY East Harling murder. Banham village. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The dedicated phone numbers for people with information about the murder are 0800 056 0944 or 0207 158 0010. Alternatively people can visit the mobile police station at the murder scene in person, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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