Two quizzed over suspected murder

TWO men remained in custody last night after being arrested by police in connection with the suspected murder of a missing 63-year-old man from Ipswich.

By Danielle Nuttall

TWO men remained in custody last night after being arrested by police in connection with the suspected murder of a missing 63-year-old man from Ipswich.

The body of Ian Halls has not been found but police arrested the second man - a 56-year-old from Manchester - early on Saturday morning on suspicion of being concerned in his murder.

A 49-year-old man, also from Manchester, was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of deception in the vicinity of Mr Hall's Tower Mill Road home 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 on Friday on suspicion of Mr Halls' murder.

Detectives successfully applied for a warrant at Ipswich Magistrates Court on Saturday morning to allow them to detain the 49-year-old man for a further 36 hours.

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Magistrates granted a further extension until 8.25pm on Monday night to question the 49-year-old, while officers have until 11.50am on Monday to question the 56-year-old.

Mr Halls, a single man who lived on his own, was initially reported missing to police by his sister on January 29.

The victim had not been in touch with his family for some time, which was out of character.

On Friday, 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.

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."

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.

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