Family of murdered Peter Wrighton say they will never forgive Alexander Palmer

83-year-old Peter Wrighton, who was killed near East Harling. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

83-year-old Peter Wrighton, who was killed near East Harling. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

The devastated family of a murdered father and grandfather have told how both they and his killer have been “failed” by mental health professionals.

Speaking outside Nottingham Crown Court after a jury took just 49 minutes to convict Alex Palmer of dog walker Peter Wrighton’s murder in woodland near East Harling, his daughter Carol Todd, who read out a statement with her brother Andrew Wrighton, said: “On August 5 last year on a beautiful Saturday morning, my dad, Peter Wrighton, was viciously attacked and killed whilst walking his dogs.

“He quite simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“The shock of it has been compounded by he fact he was such a lovely gentleman who people always warmed to.

“The most unlikely person to have something like that happen.

• Read more: Jury take less than hour to convict Alexander Palmer of murdering Peter Wrighton


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“We have all been struggling to come to terms with losing him in such a way and our mum, his wife of 59 years, has been left bereft and lonely.

“We’re so grateful to the police force for the huge amount of work they’ve done to achieve this result, and for the kindness and understanding they have given us.

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“We also again thank the local dog walkers and residents for their co-operation and support.

“However the revelations of the evidence relating to the mental health of Alexander Palmer have shocked, astounded and angered us. Evidently an intelligent person, he was able to take himself off medication and get himself discharged from medical care.

“We feel this should not have happened and that mental health professionals failed him, his family and ours.

“My mum, brother, myself and our children not only feel grief, but anger as we believe this crime could’ve been prevented.”

Andrew Wrighton said: “We don’t have any sympathy for Alexander Palmer because he planned it and covered his tracks and lied.

“He tried to get away with the murder of my dad so no, no sympathy.”

But Mr Wrighton, 54, said they did feel sorry for Palmer’s family.

He said: “What they’ve been through must be fairly similar to us - it must be devastating for them I would imagine.”

Mr Wrighton said he hoped Palmer would be jailed for a “long, long time” and revealed they were supporting a serious case review into the case to see if mistakes were made - and if they could be prevented in the future.

He said: “There will be a case review and we will look forward to having the results of that.”

Mr Wrighton said he was not going to be “too critical” of mental health services until it can be determined if mistakes were made.

He said: “Its too late for us and Alexander Palmer but if it can help someone else...”

He paid tribute to his father as a “lovely man” who was so kind and always looking to help others.

He said his dad was a family man who cared for his wife Ann, his children and his grandchildren.

He said his parents would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in March - something his father would be devastated to miss.

Mr Wrighton said his father’s death had knocked his mum for six and, for her in particular, life would never be what it was.

But he says she will fight on and with the support of her family look after Mr Wrighton’s dogs, Dylan and Gemma, and stay in their Banham home.

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