Weybread murder: Peter Stuart died from stab wounds, suspect’s car found in Dover
- Credit: Eastnews Press Agency
A manhunt is underway for suspect Ali Qazimaj after the murder of grandfather Peter Stuart in a north Suffolk village and the disappearance of his wife Sylvia.
Peter, 75, and wife Sylvia, 69, were reported missing on Friday, having not been seen since a family gathering at their home in Weybread on Saturday May 28.Yesterday afternoon, Ali Qazimaj, a 42-year-old man who has been living Tilbury, Essex, was identified as a suspect.
Police said that work done over the course of yesterday evening confirmed Mr Qazimaj, who is thought to originally be from the former Yugoslavia, was a 'key person' in the investigation. Officers searched his flat today.
Police are not ruling out the possibility that Ali Qazimaj may have left the country, and that there was a 'slim' chance that Sylvia Stuart could be with him.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes, who is leading the investigation at Suffolk Constabulary, said: 'It's a line of enquiry that we are pursuing.
'It's a doubtful line of enquiry, but all options are open to us. We are exploring all possibilities.'
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A post mortem examination of the body confirmed on Monday morning that the murdered man, believed to be Mr Stuart, died as a result of multiple stab wounds. Police are still looking for the bladed murder weapon.
Police say there is a chance Mrs Stuart is still alive and released a description of Mr Qazimaj on Monday morning.
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He is described as white, around 5ft 6ins tall, with brown eyes and dark brown greying hair. He was last seen on Friday, June 3, in Essex.
Police attended his home yesterday evening searching for him and Mrs Stuart, and officers remain at his home.
Around midnight Sunday into today, Mr Qazimaj's car – a silver Citroen C3 – was found at Athol Terrace in Dover, Kent, metres away from the Channel ferry terminal.
The car was searched in the hope of finding Sylvia and has been taken away for forensic examination.
Police are urging anyone who sees Mr Qazimaj to not approach him but call 999 immediately.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes said: 'Our priority remains locating Sylvia and we are continuing to conduct searches in Weybread as well as making further enquiries.
'While our hopes for Sylvia's safety are reducing with the passage of time, there remains the possibility that she is still alive.
'We are also actively working to find Ali Qazimaj and determine his movements since Saturday 28 May, and would ask that anyone with information contacts our incident room as soon as possible.'
A 61-year-old man from Leicester, who was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of murdering Mr Stuart, remains in custody.
A body, believed to be that of Mr Stuart, was found in woodland on Friday evening close to the Stuarts' home at Brick Kiln Cottage on Mill Lane in Weybread near Harleston.
Officers are still searching for Mr Stuart's wife who has not been seen since Saturday May 28.
A huge search operation has been underway for her since Saturday morning with around 20 forensic officers searching fields and woods near their secluded home. At one point on Saturday, the fire service was called to look in the stream near their home. That search continued at Weybread on Sunday and officers remained at the Stuarts' home on Monday, although there will not be major searches taking place.
The couple were reported missing at around 7.15am on Friday June 3 after checks with friends, neighbours and hospitals failed to locate them. Police launched a search after their car was found still at their home in Mill Lane.
The grandparents, who moved to Norfolk from Essex around 10 years ago, were last been seen at a family gathering at their home on Saturday May 28.
The Stuarts have a daughter, Christy, who used to live in the house next door to them with her husband, Steve Paxman, who is a dog breeder, and their daughter. They moved to Leicester last year.
Peter and Sylvia Stuart were keen line-dancers and went to weekly dancing sessions at Mendham and Withersdale Village Hall.
Karen Poll, of Still Dancing Linedance Club, said: 'They were very friendly, quiet and private people. They have been coming to our club for eight or nine years and to many others in the area for a similar amount of time.
'It is a real shock to the line-dancing community. They really enjoyed their line-dancing and hearing the news of Peter's death has shocked the whole community. I hope they find Sylvia.'
Police are receiving assistance from a number of wider regions, including forces in Essex, Norfolk and Cambridge.
Meanwhile, Suffolk and Norfolk major investigation team is carrying out extensive background inquiries in an effort to find Mrs Stuart.
A post-mortem examination was conducted on the man's body and authorities are awaiting the results.
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes said on Sunday: 'Our focus remains on locating Sylvia as a matter of priority, while gathering evidence in the murder inquiry. We would continue to ask anyone who may have information that can assist to come forward immediately.'
Police are asking anyone with information to call 01473 782000 or 101, quoting CAD number 49 of Friday June 3.
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