Weybread murder: Police unlikely to find Sylvia Stuart alive
- Credit: Archant
Police searching for missing north Suffolk woman Sylvia Stuart believe the inquiry will turn into a double homicide. The suspect in the murder of her husband and her disappearance is believed to have fled to France.
Today as a European-wide manhunt continues Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Parkes, of Suffolk Constabulary, conceded the probability of finding the 69-year-old alive is now remote.
The body of Mrs Stuart's 75-year-old husband Peter was found in woodland near the couple's detached home in Mill Lane, Weybread, near Diss on Friday evening.
Mr Stuart died from multiple stab wounds. This morning police said they were still unable to say when he was killed.
Mr Parkes said: 'What we are exploring is whether Sylvia was killed close by, and indeed, we have yet to find where her body has been placed.
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'We are also exploring if Sylvia may have been taken from the area.
'We are now 10 days on from the last sighting. We believe the likelihood of finding Sylvia alive is now remote.
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'That is due to the passage of time and us receiving no information on her whereabouts, or Sylvia being alive over recent days.'
Police know their main suspect Ali Qazimaj left the country, travelling unaccompanied and on foot, on a ferry from Dover to Calais last Saturday.
Qazimaj, who is also known to use the alias Marco Costa and had a link to the Stuarts, lived in Tilbury.
Thought to be from Kosovo, the 42-year-old came to Britain after the conflict in that country in the 1990s. He sought asylum which was granted, and was given a British passport.
Mr Parkes said: 'Clearly we believe he was in the Weybread area because he is a suspect in the murder of Peter. We believe he travelled down back into Essex and to Kent where his car was found.'
The silver Citroen C3 was found in Athol Terrace, Dover at around midnight on Sunday.
Detectives have declined to say whether there is any trace of Mrs Stuart having been in the vehicle.
Police have discovered Qazimaj was at the Port of Dover Ferry Terminal at around 6.30pm the previous day.
He is then thought to have boarded a passenger ferry unaccompanied to France soon after 7pm. Mr Parkes said at the time Qazimaj left England officers did not know of his 'potential in this investigation'.
At this stage Police do not know where Qazimaj went when he arrived at Calais.
Detectives are working with the French authorities and other law enforcement agencies in countries between France and Kosovo to find Qazimaj.
His is said to have previously lived in, or travelled to, various countries.
Qazimaj had been working for an agency in Purfleet.
Detectives say they need to find out more about the people he knew, his lifestyle, the areas he frequented and any hobbies he may have pursued.
Qazimaj is described as white, around 5ft 6ins tall, with brown eyes and dark brown greying hair.
Officers are still keen to discover any information they can about the movements of Mrs Stuart and her murdered husband Peter during last week.
Detectives say the last sighting they have is in Pulham Market just before 10.20am on Sunday, May 29.
Mr Parkes said: 'We clearly believe they, at some stage, came back to their home address as Peter's body was discovered nearby.'
Almost immediately after a relative reported the Stuarts missing early last Friday morning police became very concerned about what had happened to them.
Reports from neighbours and relatives made it clear it would have been out of character for the pair to disappear without a trace.
They had also missed appointments they would not normally have missed.
The Stuarts' car was also left at their property.
Detective Chief Superintended Parkes said: 'The fact there were not contactable was peculiar in its own right.'
Police have concluded their search of the area around the Stuarts' Weybread home for the time being but the forensic examinations were still taking place today.
Specialist advice will be sought to see if further searches are necessary, Mr Parkes said.
Murder suspect Mr Qazimaj, from Tilbury, is understood to have known the Stuarts, who lived in nearby Grays until moving to Suffolk around 10 years ago.
The Stuarts' daughter Christy and her partner, former financial adviser Steven Paxman, also lived in Essex before moving from Braintree to Suffolk at the same time.
The couple are understood to have moved to Leicestershire last year.
Police arrested a 61-year-old man from Leicester – thought to be Mr Paxman – on Sunday morning on suspicion of murder.
He was subsequently released on police bail and must return to answer bail on August 3.