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Colchester: Police patrols to continue for public reassurance following murders as lakes re-open

Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown, district commander for Colchester, gives an interview following the murder of Nahid Almanea.

Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown, district commander for Colchester, gives an interview following the murder of Nahid Almanea.

High visibility police patrols will continue around Colchester, it has been confirmed.

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Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown, district commander for Colchester, said today the officers on both foot and bicycles were important to reassure the public.

He was speaking at Essex University where both he and Essex’s Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston signed a book of condolence to murdered student Nahid Almanea.

Ms Almanea, a Saudi national, was found stabbed 16 times on the Salary Brook Trail between the university’s Wivenhoe campus and Colchester’s Greenstead estate on June 17.

Her death came three months after James Attfield, 33, was stabbed 102 times close to the town’s Lower Castle Park and left to die.

No-one has yet been caught in either murder investigation.

Today two lakes close to the Salary Brook Trail where Ms Almanea, 31, was found have re-opened to the public. A third lake, and the trail itself, remains cordoned off while police searches continue.

Mr Phillibrown said: “I can confirm that Essex Police has considered, and will continue with, the high visibility patrols in Colchester. This is to help reassure the public who may be feeling vulnerable following Nahid’s murder and the murder of James Attfield in March.

“We have been working closely with students and staff at Essex University as we continue to offer support following the murder of Nahid Almanea.

“Outside of the university we have been using officers to carry out additional patrols in the town. This is to help reassure the public as well using the officers to obtain information that will help us in our investigation.

“They are also using bicycles and are taking to the many cycle paths around the area of the Salary Brook Trail. This is to reach out to the many cyclists that use the paths. Cyclists like the approach and are talking to our officers and this is helping us with our enquiries.

“Our advice to people is that we have now had two knife murders in Colchester in less than three months where the motive for the attacks remains unknown. Against that background we would advise everyone in the town to remain vigilant.

“Both of these attacks were on lone people who were in locations where it appears no one else was nearby at the time. For that reason we would remind people to take sensible precautions to stay safe. This includes avoiding any situations in which you could find yourself isolated and alone in a public area.”

Anyone with information relating to either murder should call the police incident room on 01245 282103 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Crimestoppers has offered a £10,000 reward in each case for information leading to the conviction of Ms Almanea’s and Mr Attfield’s killer or killers.

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