East Harling murder: What we know so far

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

Police remain at the scene of the East Harling murder. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

As the hunt for a killer who stabbed an 83-year-old dog walker to death in broad daylight enters its fifth day, Peter Walsh takes a look at what we know and don’t know about the case.

The brutality of the frenzied attack on a married father-of-two who was out walking his two dogs in woodland near to the quiet village of East Harling has of course shocked and terrified people living near by.

The victim was described as white, of slim build, was 5ft 7ins tall and had grey hair.

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

Police remain at the scene of the East Harling murder. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Crimes like this, we are told, are “not normal” for Norfolk.

Inevitably murders, particularly when they are as violent as this, generate speculation and rumour among the local community who are understandably gripped by fear knowing the killer is still out there, somewhere.

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

Police remain at the scene of the East Harling murder. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Those rumours, which often start as Chinese whispers, become even more magnified when the police investigation is conducted under the microscope of the nation’s media.

The shocking nature of the killing has generated a huge amount of press interest, both locally and nationally, which means that every single sound bite from those living in the community becomes amplified.

East Harling, which is located close to Thetford. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

East Harling, which is located close to Thetford. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

National media are reporting that the murdered man, who has not yet been identified, was killed after he stumbled across drug dealers in the woods.

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Reports in the national press also suggest that the murder might be linked to the rape of a woman in a nearby spot in June 1994 when the victim, who was walking her dog, was viciously attacked.

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

Police remain at the scene of the East Harling murder. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Both are, of course, possibilities, but the truth is that we just don’t know.

Any crime throws up questions, but this murder seems to have served up more than most.

We still do not know who the victim is or where exactly he is from, let alone who the attacker was or even what the motive for the killing was.

What we do know is that the victim was found by a member of the public at 10.45am on Saturday, August 5.

The death was treated as unexplained by police until a murder investigation was officially launched on Monday, August 7.

It is understood the delay was to do with having to wait for results of a post-mortem examination.

We also know that, whatever the rumours, the fear felt by the community is very real and will not stop until the killer is caught.

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