Detectives have today revealed fresh information in the probe into the brutal murder of grandad David Wilson.
The body of Mr Wilson, originally from Hetton, was found in his Southwick flat on the morning of Sunday, December 14, 2014, after he had been violently attacked.
Police have now revealed that a 999 was made on the morning of the killing by someone using Mr Wilson’s mobile phone.
Last June, officers released a three-minute recording of a phone call which was made from outside the Halfway House pub, a few hundred yards from Mr Wilson’s Southwick Road home, just hours before the former special constable’s body was discovered.
The call, made to police at 4.41am on December 14, is from a man with a Tyneside accent, who tells the handler that a lift he had arranged had fallen through and he needed taking home to Gateshead.
Officers hoping to catch the killer have now revealed that the call was made from Mr Wilson’s phone.
We will not stop looking for this man, we will find you. However, we are giving you another opportunity to come forward.DCI Mark Ord
Witnesses have told the inquiry that the 49-year-old victim was in possession of the mobile phone just hours before he was killed.
The man leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ord, said: “This has been a very complex and difficult investigation.
“We had to give this man the opportunity to come forward and identify himself, however, we are in a position now to say that he made the call from David Wilson’s phone.
“I remain open minded as to how this man came into possession of David’s phone.
“Witnesses who were in David’s home at midnight tell us that David was in possession of his phone at this time, but by 4.41am that morning his phone was used to make this call. I urge this man to come forward to police and tell us how he came in possession of David’s phone.
“How has this person obtained that phone? Come forward and let us eliminate you from our investigation.
“This is the vital piece of the jigsaw to find the person responsible for David’s death.”
Det Chief Insp Ord added: “We will not stop looking for this man, we will find you.
“However, we are giving you another opportunity to come forward.”
Officers have also said they are continuing to investigate a cashpoint robbery in which a man was mugged near to the Post Office machine on Southwick Green, just yards from Mr Wilson’s flat, between 4.09am and 4.17am on the day of the killing. The team will be speaking to members of the public at B&M Bargains’ Southwick store over the next few days, with CCTV footage of the alleged robbery being played on TV screens in the shop.
Footage shows a man in a red bobble hat who detectives believe knows the Southwick area well from his movements.
“We are still investigating a robbery which we believe was connected to the incident and would reappeal to the public to come forward with any information about this – no matter how insignificant you believe it may be – it could be the key to this investigation,” said Det Chief Insp Ord.
“As part of our action we will be showing members of the public the CCTV footage of the robbery and appealing for information.
“With the help from the community and retailers we have officers out and about to speak to as many people as possible, to gather information from anyone who may have been in the area on Saturday, December 13, 2014, into the early hours of December 14.
“We understand this was sometime ago, but we are hoping people spare us a few minutes of their time to help bring justice for David’s family.”
Popular Mr Wilson had only lived at the Southwick Road flat for a number of weeks before his killing, after previously living in Sunderland city centre.
Anyone with information regarding the murder is asked to contact DCI Ord on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
•A man aged 35 remains on bail after being arrested on suspicion of murder.
Reliving the murder
The loving daughter of murdered David Wilson says she relives the horror of his death every day.
Tara Wilson was speaking alongside her uncle Ian as new details were released by detectives hoping to catch his killer.
Mr Wilson, grandad to Tara’s two young children, would have celebrated his 50th birthday last year.
“He is missing out on things every day, not just the major events like Christmasses,” said Tara, 27.
“This shouldn’t have happened.
“The person who did this is walking about and living their life, going about their day-to-day business when they’ve committed this crime.
“How can they live with that?
“We are constantly re-living that, constantly thinking about the night it happened and how we found out.” Asked about how she will eventually tell her own children about what happened to their grandad, she added: “It’s not a conversation I’m looking forward to having at all.”
As well trying to identify a man who carried out a mugging at a cash machine on Southwick Green, detectives are also focused on finding out who used Mr Wilson’s phone to ask for a lift from police to the Gateshead area.
Renewing appeals for information, Ian, 48, said: “People need to be eliminated from this inquiry so that it can be resolved.
“We know that David’s phone was in his flat hours before the call was made.
“Maybe this person picked the phone up from the ground or something like that, but we need to know exactly how they got it.
“We need a name.”