Police renew appeal over former thatcher's death

THIS is the first image released of former thatcher Richard Clarke who died under suspicious circumstances at his home.

Elliot Furniss

THIS is the first image released of former thatcher Richard Clarke who died under suspicious circumstances at his home.

Mr Clarke, 74, was found dead in the driveway of his house on the outskirts of Eye on Saturday morning.

Friends and former colleagues have described him as a skilled craftsman with a “heart of gold”.

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Mr Clarke was also an experienced cyclist and member of the Diss and District Cycling Club.

The club's chairman has suggested holding a forthcoming reliability trial in his name as a mark of respect and its president has also paid tribute to him.

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Mick Madgett, club president and competitions secretary, said Mr Clarke was always on hand to marshal at events and was a committed and popular member of the club.

He said: “He was still an active cyclist and used to go out regularly. He would always help with marshalling club time trials and was always happy to help out.”

Mr Madgett, who also runs Madgett's Cycles in Diss, said that from the little snippets he let on about his earlier cycling days - riding in competitions in Wales and during his RAF days - it was clear to members that he had been a “very useful” rider in his youth.

He added: “He was a popular member. He had his fallings out with people and had his own opinions about things like we all do, but he was a nice bloke and always prepared to go and put himself out to help people.”

Police have renewed their appeals for information about Mr Clarke's death and have asked for anyone who passed his home in Cranley Green Road on Saturday morning to get in touch.

A spokesman said: “Detectives investigating the case are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area between Friday evening and Saturday morning and are particularly keen to trace anyone who drove along the road towards Occold between 5am and 7.30am on Saturday.

“Please come forward regardless of whether you think you saw anything of use as you may have information that can help the inquiry.”

The spokesman added: “A post mortem examination of the body revealed the man had sustained a head injury and further tests are being carried out to determine how this was sustained. The death is being treated as suspicious.”

A 42-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of murder has now been released on bail to return to Ipswich Police Station on October 12.

Anyone with information that may help the investigation is urged to contact Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

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