A reward on offer for information leading to the killer of Sunderland grandad Robert Hutchinson has today been increased to £10,000.
The 57-year-old was last seen leaving his home in Corporation Road, Hendon, at 6.20pm on Monday, June 23, 2014. He has not been seen since.
Mr Hutchinson left his home in his car, a blue Nissan Micra, which was later found abandoned at the end of Stewart Street, just off Chester Road.
Extensive inquiries were carried out to locate him, which led police to believe he had come to harm, and a murder investigation was launched.
Now independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers, which had already offered a £3,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer, has upped the offer to £10,000.
The neighbourhood policing team will be delivering information leaflets in the Chester Road area of Sunderland, where he was last seen, to help appeal for information.
Detective Inspector Ed Small is currently reviewing the murder as part of Northumbria Police's Unsolved Murders Revisited, and he hopes the activities this week will open new lines of inquiries and find the missing piece of the jigsaw.
He said: "Our condolences very much remain with Robert's family. I'm sure it has been a very difficult few years, and not having the answers only prolongs their grief. We need answers to what happened to him.
"We hope that together with Crimestoppers and the people of Sunderland, we can help find the person or people responsible to Robert's death.
"There will be people in the community who will have information about his murder, and information that can assist with our inquiry, and we need them to come forward and speak to us.
"Robert's car was found at the end of Stewart Street, near to Chester Road. It had been left sometime overnight between Monday, June 23, and Tuesday, June 24, so we are targeting the area to establish Robert’s last movements.”
“I would ask anyone with any information, no matter how irrelevant they think it is, to come forward.”
In September last year three men, aged 43, 48, and 57, were questioned in relation to Mr Hutchinson’s murder. They were released with no further action.
In December, police forensics experts carried out a search of industrial land in Henry Street, Hendon, less than a mile from Mr Hutchinson’s home. That was the latest development in the inquiry, until today.
A spokesperson for Crimestoppers said: "Somewhere out there someone knows who has committed this act, and we urge them to contact us in complete anonymity, in order to help bring the individual to justice."
Anyone with information that can assist the inquiry should contact Northumbria Police on 101, ext 69191, quoting reference 410 260614, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Information will be treated in the strictest of confidence and can be passed on anonymously if necessary.