Police in Essex launch manhunt after pensioner is murdered

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Police have launched a manhunt for a 28-year-old wanted on suspicion of the murder of a pensioner in Essex.

Essex police are trying to find Leighton Snook after 83-year-old Donald Ralph was found dead at his home in the village of Aldham, near Colchester, just after 1pm on Tuesday.

Ralph’s car was stolen and officers said they believe the killing was a targeted attack. Police said Snook should not be approached, but if any members of the public see him, they should notify the police immediately.

Snook is from Colchester, but investigators said he has links to Hastings, Suffolk, Hartlepool and County Durham.

A 16-year-old was arrested in Colchester on Wednesday evening and is being held in custody on suspicion of murder.

Detectives are trying to track down Ralph’s car, a blue Volvo V50 with the registration HD08 YFV, which was last recorded being driven to Hastings on the morning of the murder.

Ralph has been described as “very young at heart” and a man who enjoyed being in the countryside. His niece Tina Ralph said: “Don was a very young-at-heart, fit 83-year-old, with boundless energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment of life.

“He was a man who loved all things countryside, particularly fishing and the Norfolk Broads, as well as being an avid bird lover. He loved horse racing and spent many a happy Saturday having a little flutter.

“Don was a unique character, who will be much missed by his wide circle of friends, and all his family.”

DCI Scott Egerton of Kent and Essex serious crime directorate said: “We urgently need to speak to Leighton Snook in connection with the murder of Donald Ralph. I would strongly urge him, or anyone who knows of his whereabouts, to contact police.

“I ask members of the public not to approach him but to call police immediately. Anybody who is found to be assisting those involved in Mr Ralph’s murder in any way will be subject of a thorough investigation and could find themselves prosecuted for assisting an offender.”

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