Murder suspect faces extradition

A FOREIGN computer games enthusiast accused of the murder of a Suffolk student he allegedly met over the internet will appear in a German court today to face extradition proceedings to the UK.

Anthony Bond

A FOREIGN computer games enthusiast accused of the murder of a Suffolk student he allegedly met over the internet will appear in a German court today to face extradition proceedings to the UK.

David Heiss is accused of flying to the UK to murder 20-year-old Matthew Pyke, stabbing him several times at his flat in Nottingham city centre last Friday.

A spokeswoman for Nottinghamshire Police said Heiss would be appearing in Frankfurt for the start of extradition proceedings, and questioning was ongoing.

Mr Pyke, from Stowmarket who ran his own online chat forum dedicated to gaming, was found by his girlfriend, Joanna Witton, in the flat they shared together above a popular pub.

Detectives from Nottinghamshire Police were investigating the couple's links to the on-line gaming world.

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They both ran a website called Wars Central where fans of the Nintendo computer strategy game Advance Wars could discuss strategies on forums.

There had been reports that Mr Pyke had argued with a fellow gamer.

Police, fearing Mr Pyke's attacker could strike again, tracked Heiss down through a series of postings on the internet before contacting German police.

German police confirmed last night that they had arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of the murder.

The police statement read: “According to Nottinghamshire Police and intensive investigations from Limburg/Weilburg police, a 21-year-old man from the rural district of Limburg was arrested on Wednesday evening on suspicion of murder.

“Officers of the police Westhessen HQ arrested him in Hunfelden on suspicion that one week ago on September 19 the man killed an English man in Nottingham with a knife. The two had got to know each other over the internet.”

The statement added that the 21-year-old was taken before a judge who issued “an order of detention with a view to extradition”.

Although police have not released his name, it is believed to be David Heiss - whose online alias is Eagle the Lightening.

On Tuesday he wrote on Mr Pyke's girlfriend's Facebook page - four days after she found her boyfriend dead.

He wrote: “I will pray for you, Jo. You must be suffering unbelievable pains. I'm sorry for having caused so much trouble lately. I hope you won't lose all your hope. We will be there for you.”

On his own Facebook page, Heiss describes himself as an apprentice/trainee who is a “jack of all trades/general dogsbody”.

He describes his activities and interests as being videogames and the internet, as well as football and chess. His relationship status is 'single' and he describes himself as being agnostic and liberal.

An anonymous comment posted on the Wars Central forum earlier in the week suggested that gamers knew something about what had happened prior to the murder.

It read: “I think I speak on behalf of those of us which do know a fair bit about what happened not to press us with questions. We may know a lot of what was going on prior to the killing but I, for one, am not going to say any more.”

Yesterdaythe forums of Wars Central were closed down to guests by an administrator called Eggy. All new registrations were also disabled.

Eggy, who administered the website together with Mr Pyke and his girlfriend, wrote: “Matt, you were a great friend, and a great man. I'm not normally at a loss for words, but this is something where I just cannot speak. I cannot imagine this place without you. You touched so many hearts. I hope whoever did this to you is brought to swift justice.”

Advance Wars is not a graphically violent game and is more concerned with strategy than virtual killing. It has been praised for its complexity, with gamers saying it can be “highly addictive”.

In the game, players are charged with commanding an army of tanks, planes and foot soldiers in a battle to wipe out an enemy force on a grid-based map.

Mr Pyke moved to Nottingham two years ago and was about to start a degree at Nottingham Trent University.

His parents William, 52, and Kim, 49, of Chelsworth Way, Stowmarket, left a tribute on his Facebook page saying “Your smile will live on in our hearts.”