Mystery man clue to 'murder' probe
A MYSTERY man was seen walking away from the home of a suspected Suffolk murder victim just days ago, it has been revealed.Police launched a murder inquiry yesterday afternoon following the disappearance of 63-year-old Ian Halls, from Ipswich.
By Danielle Nuttall
A MYSTERY man was seen walking away from the home of a suspected Suffolk murder victim just days ago, it has been revealed.
Police launched a murder inquiry yesterday afternoon following the disappearance of 63-year-old Ian Halls, from Ipswich.
Mr Halls, a single man who lived on his own in Tower Mill Road, was initially reported missing to police by his sister on January 29.
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The victim had not been in touch with his family for some time, which was out of character.
His body has not been found, but police yesterday arrested a 49-year-old man from Manchester on suspicion of murder. He was being questioned last night at Ipswich police station.
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Last night, the owner of a workshop near to Mr Halls' home said he had seen a man walk away from the property on Monday morning - causing him to call the missing man's sister.
The man, who did not want to be named, said: "I did not know he had any family until last Saturday when his sister was waiting outside the house and she said 'had I seen him' and I said that I did not see him very often. She asked me to call her in London if I did see anything.
"I saw a gentleman there on Monday so I called her to say she had better phone the police.
"I just saw this person come out and I knew it was not the person that lived there. He wore a cap - that's all I know."
Police said Mr Halls, who regularly visited the town's main library, had travelled to France over the Christmas and New Year period, but his family believed he returned to Ipswich some time in January.
Although there were no suspicious circumstances, detectives carried out enquiries and visits in the area of Mr Halls' home in a bid to establish his whereabouts.
On Thursday night, they arrested a man on suspicion of deception in the vicinity of Mr Halls' address having been found in possession of some of the missing man's property.
Although no body has been located, following further police enquiries the man was also arrested yesterday on suspicion of Mr Halls' murder.
Det Ch Insp Rick Munns said: "The disappearance appears to be much out of character. He kept regular contact with his family by telephone and email."
He agreed it was unusual to launch a murder inquiry without a body being found.
But he added: "In this instance, having had lengthy conversation with the family, Mr Halls used to keep many forms of communication and clearly that contact has not been made and that has raised our concerns.
"It's a difficult issue for the family without any body being recovered at this time. That is causing some distress to the family.
"Officers are carrying out a number of lines of inquiry and inquiries are continuing around the home."
Police are keen to trace the movements of Mr Halls and anyone who can help should contact Ipswich CID on 01473 383133 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.