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Police officer thought “strange” injuries caused to murdered Norfolk dog walker were inflicted by victim’s own pet

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:50 22 February 2018

A post-mortem examination revealed Peter Wrighton died from multiple stab wounds. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

A post-mortem examination revealed Peter Wrighton died from multiple stab wounds. Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Archant

Injuries caused to a murdered dog walker were so “strange” that a police officer thought they were inflicted by the victim’s own pet, a court heard.

PC Andrew London was the first officer to see the body of Peter Wrighton following its discovery by two other dog walkers in East Harling on August 5 last year.

Giving evidence at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday, he said part of the 83-year-old’s throat was missing and there was a pool of blood nearby.

The court previously heard how Mr Wrighton, of Banham, had been stabbed to death in an attack which left his head “almost severed from his body.”

Former solider Alexander Palmer, 24, of Freesia Way, Cringleford, is on trial accused of his murder.

PC London, who is based in Thetford, said: “There was a large pool of blood to the side of the track.

“When I got close to him, there was a massive part of his throat missing. I have never seen anything like it.”

“It was such a strange injury I thought, ‘has he been attacked by his own dog?’.”

The body was found by Anne Precious that morning as she walked her West Highland terrier through Harling Heath woodland with her husband Nigel.

Giving evidence, she said she initially spotted two dogs off their leads before finding Mr Wrighton’s body on the left side of the walkway.

She said: “I thought he had fallen over at first and I assumed he was the owner of the dogs.

“I did bend down initially and I was going to help him get up. But then I saw the injury and I was pretty sure he was dead.”

Mrs Precious, who was visibly upset in court, said she called over her husband who then phoned the police.

She said there were two “tramlines” in the grass which gave the impression that Mr Wrighton’s body had been dragged.

Mr Wrighton, a married father and grandfather, had been stabbed repeatedly in the back of his head and neck. Palmer denies murder.

Nigel Precious, who was with his wife when she found the body, said Mr Wrighton’s body was visible from the chin downwards and there was a “large open wound” to his neck.

“I thought it was a mannequin, but then reality dawned and I realised it was a body,” he said.

The trial, which is scheduled to last two to three weeks, continues.

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