Murder case victim ‘punched’ outside home in Eye

A 'total gentleman' whose death has sparked a two year murder investigation was likely to have been punched in the face before being dragged to the ground, an inquest heard.

Richard Clarke, 73, was found outside his home on Cranley Green Road in Eye, Suffolk, on August 22 2009 and died of serious head injury later that day.

It is believed that the former thatcher was assaulted, but the investigation into his death continues after an early arrest and continuing appeals failed to find those responsible.

At a Norwich inquest yesterday Dr Benjamin Swift, a forensic pathologist who carried out the third post mortem on Mr Clarke, explained that he spotted a previously undiscovered fracture to the right cheekbone.

He went on to add that the lack of other grazes to the face implied it had been the result of an attack.

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He said he believed it was caused by 'a single blow such as a punch from a third party causing him to propel backwards striking his head and causing it injuries,' adding that he thought the victim had been dragged to the ground.

The inquest heard that Mr Clarke went to the The Horseshoes Public House in Billingford with a friend at around 3pm on the August 21, and drank there until 6.45pm, when he needed assistance from the publican into a taxi home.

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However, taxi driver Janie Ledeboer said that he had been a 'total gentleman' who had apologised for being drunk and was in control.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Luckett said that he had been spotted by a couple at around 8pm that night and on his driveway holding the back of his head.

However it was just before 6am the following morning that he was discovered in the same location by a dog walker and taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7.40am. Coroner Bill Armstrong gave a verdict of unlawful killing.

Those with information should call police on 101.

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