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Detectives given further 24 hours to question Stowmarket murder suspect

PUBLISHED: 12:41 01 January 2018 | UPDATED: 06:38 02 January 2018

The scene in The Brickfields, Stowmarket, where a woman died on Saturday night. Inset, former UKIP county councillor Stephen Searle who has been charged with his wife's murder. Picture: ARCHANT

The scene in The Brickfields, Stowmarket, where a woman died on Saturday night. Inset, former UKIP county councillor Stephen Searle who has been charged with his wife's murder. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Detectives investigating a suspected murder in Stowmarket have been granted a further 24 hours to question a man – thought to be a former UKIP politician – in connection with the incident.

Suffolk police were called to a home in The Brickfields in the town at 10.20pm on Saturday where a woman, thought to be in her 60s, was found unresponsive.

Paramedics treated the woman for cardiac arrest, but she died at the scene.

The death is being treated as suspicious and a 64-year-old man from Stowmarket has been arrested and taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning.

UPDATED: Man charged with murder after body found in Stowmarket

It is understood the suspect is Stephen Searle, a UKIP councillor who represented Stowmarket South at Suffolk County Council, and stood for election as an MP in May. Mr Searle is believed to have been questioned in connection with the death of his wife.

A superintendent authorised a 12 hour extension of they suspect’s detention yesterday evening. This morning officers made an application for a warrant of further detention at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

MORE: Police granted extra time to question suspect - believed to be former UKIP councillor Stephen Searle - in connection with woman’s murder

They were granted an additional 24 hours to question the 64-year-old suspect, which expires at 11.12am tomorrow.

Mr Searle was elected to the county council seat for Stowmarket South in May 2013.

His election material said he was a former Royal Marine commando.

“He fought for his country; now he’s fighting for you,” it said.

In May 2017, Mr Searle stood again, but lost to Conservative Mid Suffolk council leader Nick Gowrley.

The same year, he ran as UKIP candidate for election as Member of Parliament for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich.

He finished last of five candidates, including incumbent Conservative MP Dan Poulter.

Mr Searle is also understood to have played an active role in local charities, including the Stowmarket branch of the Royal British Legion.

A branch spokesman said Mr Searle was a “respected member”.

People living in The Brickfields area have also spoken of their shock.

MORE: Shocked neighbours react to suspected murder in Stowmarket

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “We got on very well with them.”

A passing dog walker and nearby resident added: “It’s absolutely terrible. Nothing like this, to my knowledge, has ever happened before.

“The biggest problem until now has been parents parking when taking their kids to school.

“I’m very sorry to hear about it.”

A cordon remains in place at the scene as police continue with their enquiries.

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