Cops arrest boy, 16, after OAP, 83, found dead in ‘botched burglary’ as police hunt suspect

POLICE investigating the suspected murder of a pensioner have arrested a 16-year-old boy and have named a man they are hunting.

Pensioner Donald Ralph, 83, was found dead by a neighbour on Tuesday at his bungalow in Aldham, near Colchester, Essex.



Detectives have said the victim's blue Volvo V50 car was missing from his driveway, suggesting it may have been taken by his killers.

But officers have refused to confirm reports that a shotgun belonging to Mr Ralph – also known locally as Don – was also stolen in the raid.

Police confirmed that a 16-year-old boy from Leicester had been arrested in Colchester on Wednesday night in connection with the investigation.

The unnamed teenager currently remains in custody for questioning on suspicion of murder.

But on Thursday, officers now say they want to speak to Leighton Snook, 28, who is from Colchester.

Snook is said to have links across Essex – particularly in Colchester – as well as links to Hastings in East Sussex, Hartlepool and County Durham.

Essex Police also revealed today that Mr Ralph’s Volvo with the registration number HD08 YFV was known to have been driven to Hastings on Tuesday morning.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott Egerton, of the 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.”

DCI Egerton added: “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.”

Police have described the shocking events as “a targeted incident”.

An Essex Police statement added: “We are progressing our enquiries and from the information we believe this was a targeted attack.”

Police have said they are carrying out checks to see if anything else is missing from Mr Ralph’s home.

A relative of Mr Ralph who asked not to be named, choked back tears as he said: “I’d like ten minutes with the bastard who did it, that’s what I’d really like.

“I don’t know why anybody would want to do this. It is beyond my wildest, wildest nightmares.

“To think there are people in this world who would do something like this. He did various jobs and had been alone for 40 or 50 years.

"He was very happy. He was just a lovely man and I loved him. His car has gone and we don’t know why."

Anyone with information that could help police should submit it online at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/4201020120P56-PO1

Information can also be given to independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org

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