NORTHUMBRIA Police is now leading the investigation into the murder of John Anthony Hall, age 46, whose body was discovered in the West Rainton area of Durham on Sunday, September 15, at approximately 7pm.
Durham Constabulary and neighbouring force Northumbria Police have been working closely on this enquiry from the beginning.
Mr Hall was reported as missing to Northumbria Police from his home in Burn Terrace, Shiney Row, on Monday, September 16. Enquiries were carried out in the area and with neighbouring force Durham. It was quickly established that the body found in West Rainton the previous evening was that of missing man Mr Hall and both forces have pooled resources to carry out enquiries.
The handover to the neighbouring force last night was a result of new information which has come to light during the investigation. Officers are carrying out enquiries into potential crime scenes which are being investigated in the Shiney Row area within Northumbria.
Five men aged between 32 and 48 years, arrested on suspicion of murder remain in custody in the Durham area and will be moved to police stations within the Northumbria force.
Detective Chief Inspector Christina Barrett, of Northumbria Police, who is leading the enquiry, said: “We will continue to work closely with Durham Constabulary building on the joint work carried out to date.
“Although it is unusual for a murder investigation to be transferred from one force to another, it has become clear that the majority of the investigation will continue within Northumbria’s boundaries and therefore a decision was made for Northumbria Police to be given ownership of the enquiry.
“I would like to reiterate the earlier comments made by colleagues at Durham, that enquiries have led us to belive that Mr Hall was not the victim of a random attack.
“We are still appealing for anyone with information about Mr Hall’s murder and his earlier disappearance from his home, to contact police straightaway.”
Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, Sunderland Area Commander said: “Residents in the Shiney Row area will have seen areas cordoned off by police who have been making enquiries into this case. We also have additional neighbourhood officers on patrol in these areas to reassure local people. If any residents have concerns they wish to share with officers, or information about this case I would ask them to please speak with an officer.”
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.