Police hunting man wanted over murder of 83-year-old

Police are hunting for a 28-year-old man wanted on suspicion of the murder of a pensioner found dead earlier this week.

The body of 83-year-old Donald Ralph was found at his home in the village of Aldham, close to Colchester, just after 1pm on Tuesday.

Essex Police have launched a manhunt to track down Leighton Snook, and warned the public not to approach him but call police immediately if they spot him.

Mr Ralph’s car was stolen and the force said officers believe the killing was a targeted attack.

Donald Ralph
Donald Ralph

Snook is from Colchester, but investigators said he has links to Hastings, Suffolk, Hartlepool and County Durham.

A 16-year-old was arrested in Colchester on Wednesday evening and is being held in custody on suspicion of murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Egerton, of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “We urgently need to speak to Leighton Snook in connection with the murder of Donald Ralph.

“I would strongly urge him, or anyone who knows of his whereabouts, to contact police.

“I ask members of the public not to approach him but to call police immediately.

“Anybody who is found to be assisting those involved in Mr Ralph’s murder in any way will be subject of a thorough investigation and could find themselves prosecuted for assisting an offender.”

Donald Ralph's missing car
Donald Ralph's missing car

Police are also trying to track down Mr Ralph’s car – a blue Volvo V50 with the registration HD08 YFV – which was last recorded being driven to Hastings on the morning of the murder.

Mr Egerton said: “I’d like to thank members of the public who have helped with our investigation so far so that we can get the answers Mr Ralph’s family desperately need.”

Mr Ralph’s family described him as being “very young at heart” and a man who loved being in the countryside.

His niece, Tina Ralph, said: “Don was a very young at heart, fit 83-year-old, with boundless energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment of life.

“He was a man who loved all things countryside, particularly fishing and the Norfolk Broads, as well as being an avid bird lover.

“He loved horse racing and spent many a happy Saturday having a little flutter.

“Don was a unique character, who will much missed by his wide circle of friends, and all his family.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Essex Police or to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.