Police retracing steps of missing Sunderland man

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DETECTIVES will today retrace the last steps of a missing man who has sparked a murder inquiry.

Mystery still surrounds the disappearance of Robert Hutchinson, and a £3,000 reward is now being offered in connection with the investigation.

Crimestoppers is offering the cash for information linked to the disappearance of the Hendon man.

The 57-year-old grandad was last seen on Monday, June 23, when he left his home in Corporation Road in his blue Nissan Micra.

Police are urging anyone who saw him in the days leading up to his disappearance, or since, to get in touch.

Today, officers investigating his disappearance were due to walk around the places in Sunderland where he was last seen.

On July 16, two men were arrested on suspicion of his murder and have since been bailed.

Crimestoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to any murder conviction.

Detective Chief Inspector Christina Barrett said: “We are treating Robert’s disappearance as a murder inquiry and our hope is that the Crimestoppers reward might just make the difference in someone coming forward and passing some key piece of information on.

“The important thing about Crimestoppers is that it is anonymous.

“If you call them with information, then you don’t have to give your name or contact details, the police never have to know who you are – all we are interested in is the information. You can still be eligible for the reward even if you do remain anonymous.”

The timeline police have of Mr Hutchinson’s movements show CCTV of him putting petrol in his car at Asda in Grangetown at 4.20pm on Monday, June 23, and he was seen leaving his house at 6.20pm.

His family reported him missing on Thursday, June 26.

His car was found on Thursday, July 3, in Stewart Street, near Chester Road, and police believe it was left there between 6.20pm on Monday, June 23, and 6am the next day.

DCI Barrett added: “Robert’s family are incredibly upset by what has happened. I think the answer to this investigation lies in the local area and with local people.

“We need their help to find out where he is and what has happened to him.”

Police can be called on 101 and Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.