Tributes paid to 'young at heart' 83-year-old found murdered in home

Donald Ralph was found dead at his home on Monday 

Donald Ralph was found dead at his home on Monday - Credit: Essex Police

Tributes have been paid to a man after his body was found at his home in Aldham, near Colchester earlier this week. 

Donald ‘Don’ Ralph, 83, was found dead at his property in Halstead Road shortly after 1pm on Tuesday, December 29.

Essex Police have launched a murder investigation into Mr Ralph's death and are currently awaiting the results of Mr Ralph's post mortem.

A murder investigation has been launched after a man was found dead in Aldham

Police at Mr Ralph's home in Aldham near Colchester - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Mr Ralph's niece Tina Ralph paid tribute to her uncle, describing him as a unique character. 

“Don was a very young at heart, fit 83-year-old, with boundless energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment of life," said Ms Ralph.  

“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 much missed by his wide circle of friends, and all his family.”

Mr Ralph's death has left the small village community shocked

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Jackie Daines, chairwoman of Aldham Parish Council, said: "It's just so very sad. It's the sort of thing that you read in papers that happens somewhere else, but it doesn't happen on your doorstep.

"I was born in Aldham and I don't ever remember anything like this ever happening before, and please God it never happens again.

"It says on the police website that it was a targeted incident so I'm sure none of us need to be fearful of going about our day-to-day lives.

"We're a small village, just under 500 people, we don't all know each other but a lot of us know a lot of people and we do look out for each other, elderly people and so on.

"I'm shocked, saddened, and these are awful times we're living through anyway with all this Covid and lockdowns, so to have that tragedy on top is a double whammy. You wouldn't want that to happen to anybody, anywhere."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Essex Police's major crime team on 101, quoting incident 512 of December 29 or by emailing

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.

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