Weybread murder: Shocked village prays for missing Sylvia
- Credit: Archant
One week on, and the focus of the Weybread murder investigation returned to where it started.
Seven days after Peter Stuart and his wife were first reported missing from their home in the Suffolk village, officers were back at the scene, conducting extensive searches of the surrounding area.
The body of 75-year-old Peter Stuart was found in woodland near to their Mill Lane property on the evening after the pair were reported missing and yesterday's search was for his wife, 69, who police fear has also been killed.
Specialist search officers used scythes and hand tools to comb fields and woodland just yards from the Stuarts' home, as the police helicopter searched from above.
Meanwhile the manhunt continues for suspect Ali Qazimaj. The focus of that search has switched to mainland Europe, after officers established he abandoned his car in Dover and boarded a ferry to Calais on June 4.
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Police have been liaising with their counterparts on the continent, in a bid to track down the 42-year-old Kosovan forklift driver, who lived in Tilbury, Essex.
Back in Weybread, the small community has been rocked to its core by the tragic events with all hoping that this will not turn into a double murder investigation.
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The Rev Susan Ann Loxton, vicar at St Andrew Church in Weybread, said: 'We're still hoping and praying that Sylvia will be found alive. They've done extensive searches and haven't found her so it seems there's still hope.
'We're just keeping the family, the village and neighbours and the police investigation in our prayers and thoughts. The village and residents are still in shock and can't believe that something like this has happened.'
The sense of shock and sadness still reverberating through the isolated rural community was almost palpable yesterday as people tried to continue their lives under the intense media microscope that these tragic events have brought.
Geoffrey Hall, director of Middleton Farm Nurseries Plant Centre, close to Mill Lane, said: 'It's just the shock that something could happen so close to home. It brings it home. It's just very sad.'
Tracy Grantham, office manager of the Cathedral Garage in Weybread, said: 'We're just in shock. It's very sad that they haven't found Sylvia.
'Customers come in daily and we talk about it. There's speculation about all sorts of stories about what could and couldn't have happened. I just hope they find her.'
With the searches expected to continue today, Suffolk detectives are still trying to piece together information regarding the movements of Mr Qazimaj, who has also previously used the alias of Marco Costa, before his departure from the UK.
Det Chief Supt Simon Parkes said: 'We are continuing to work to locate Sylvia and to find Ali Qazimaj. We are grateful to everyone who has passed on information to date and would also like to thank those who have been assisting us with this investigation.
'Our international colleagues are carrying out work to help locate Ali Qazimaj while we continue to search for Sylvia in the UK. We would still like to hear from anyone with information that may help our inquiries.'
Anyone with information can contact Suffolk Police through the incident room on 01473 782000.
A 61-year-old man from Leicester, arrested on Sunday, June 5, in connection with the death of Peter Stuart, has been bailed to return to police on Wednesday, August 3.