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Colchester: Patrols carried out to reassure residents who are told to be ‘vigilant’ following murders

PUBLISHED: 18:08 21 June 2014 | UPDATED: 18:08 21 June 2014

Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown, district commander for Colchester, gives an interview following the murder of Nahid Almanea.

Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown, district commander for Colchester, gives an interview following the murder of Nahid Almanea.

The “absolute priority” for Essex Police in the wake of two horrific murders is the safety of the public

Photo taken from CCTV footage issued by Essex Police of Nahid Almanea, 31, who was studying an English language course at the University of Essex as part of her studies for a life sciences Phd, who died after she was stabbed 16 times. The CCTV footage taken from a local newsagent which showed her last movements as she headed for the footpath. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.Photo taken from CCTV footage issued by Essex Police of Nahid Almanea, 31, who was studying an English language course at the University of Essex as part of her studies for a life sciences Phd, who died after she was stabbed 16 times. The CCTV footage taken from a local newsagent which showed her last movements as she headed for the footpath. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

In the space of less than three months a man and a woman have been stabbed to death in Colchester.

Essex University student, Nahid Almanea, 31, was killed after she was stabbed 16 times to the head, upper body and arms on Tuesday in Greenstead.

James Attfield, 33, was stabbed more than 100 times in an attack in Castle Park in the town in March.

Essex Police released a statement in which they called for residents to be “vigilant” with detectives not dismissing the possibility that a serial killer is on the loose.

James Attfield, 33, from Colchester, who died after he was found stabbed to death in the town's Castle ParkJames Attfield, 33, from Colchester, who died after he was found stabbed to death in the town's Castle Park

Officers are not ruling out that the two murders are linked with another line of enquiry centring on whether Ms Almanea’s death was race-related.

Steve Ditchburn, superintendent, said: “The safety of the public remains the absolute priority for Essex Police and additional patrols are now being carried out across Colchester; especially in public open spaces.

“These patrols are to offer reassurance and we would invite people to speak to officers about any concerns they may have or to pass on any information of relevance to either investigation.

“Our advice to people is that we have now had two knife murders in Colchester in less than three months where the motive for the attacks remains unknown. Against that background we would advise everyone in the town to remain vigilant.

“Both of these attacks were on lone people who were in locations where it appears no one else was nearby at the time.

“For that reason we would remind people to take sensible precautions to stay safe. This includes avoiding any situations in which you could find yourself isolated and alone in a public area.”

There are a range of tips on how to stay safe on the Essex Police website.

Extra resources from regional forces and the Metropolitan Police have been drafted in to boost officer numbers during the investigations.

Anyone with information in relation to the murders should call 01245 282103.

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