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Former soldier Alexander Palmer accused of murder of Peter Wrighton, 83, due back in court

PUBLISHED: 11:05 12 September 2017

Alexander Palmer, 23, who has been charged with the murder of Peter Wrighton. Picture Facebook.

Alexander Palmer, 23, who has been charged with the murder of Peter Wrighton. Picture Facebook.

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A former soldier from Cringleford accused of the murder of 83-year-old dog-walker Peter Wrighton in woodland near East Harling is due back in court.

Police at the scene of the East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLYPolice at the scene of the East Harling murder. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

The body of Mr Wrighton, a married father and grandfather from Banham, was discovered in woodland near East Harling on Saturday, August 5.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died from multiple stab wounds to the neck and head.

Alexander Palmer, 23, of Freesia Way, Cringleford, who served with the British Army between 2010 and 2015, is set to appear at Norwich Crown Court tomorrow (Tuesday, September 12) after being charged with murder.

MORE: Man charged with murder of Banham grandfather Peter Wrighton

Peter Wrighton, 83, of Banham. Picture Norfolk ConstabularyPeter Wrighton, 83, of Banham. Picture Norfolk Constabulary

The plea and trial preparation hearing follows a first appearance at the crown court last month during which a provisional date for a trial was pencilled in for February 12 next year.

The hearing was due to be heard in court four but was moved to court one in order to accommodate the large number of people who wanted to attend, including family and friends of the defendant.

There was also a large contingent of reporters from local and national media.

MORE: Cringleford man Alexander Palmer could stand trial for murder of Peter Wrighton next year

As a 16-year-old Palmer, formerly of Old Buckenham, received a top grade after a gruelling selection process and in September 2010 was due to start training at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.

A British Army spokesman confirmed Palmer had served in the Army from September 2010 to November 2015 but would not provide any further details.

Mr Wrighton, a former BT worker, was described as a “a lovely, gentle husband, dad and grandfather” who loved walking his dogs, Gemma and Dylan.

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

Mr Wrighton’s family also thanked members of the public for their support and tributes at such a difficult time.

The statement said: “We have received so many cards, flowers and kind words from those who knew Peter and it has been a great comfort to us at this time. He would have been so touched to know that so many people thought so highly of him.”

Peter’s son added: “My dad was the sweetest, most mild-mannered, gentle old boy you could wish to meet.”

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