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Friend relives finding murdered OAP

PUBLISHED: 20:18 14 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

ALMOST six months to the day since the bloodstained body of murdered pensioner Joan Albert was found the man who made the grisly discovery today told of its haunting legacy.

ALMOST six months to the day since the bloodstained body of murdered pensioner Joan Albert was found the man who made the grisly discovery today told of its haunting legacy.

Hugh Twose , who lives on The Street in Capel St Mary, has had to relive the nightmare over and over again in eight interviews with police.

He said: "We were very close to Joan and had been for the last 26 years since we moved here. We have been devastated by this. How could you expect that sort of thing in a place like Capel?"

Mr Twose described how on December 16 last year he picked up a spare key to the 79-year-old's home in Boydlands, Capel St Mary, from neighbours after the widow failed to answer the phone.

They went together to unlock Mrs Albert's front door at the end of the residential cul de sac.

Mrs Albert's body was discovered contorted at the bottom of the stairs.

Rusty, the widow's beloved King Charles spaniel, was found whimpering by the body, scratching to get out of the family-sized home.

Initially, Mr Twose assumed the former hairdresser who lived alone had died of natural causes.

Mr Twose said: "She was lying at the bottom of the stairs. I never for one second imagined foul play. Even when I saw the knife next to her body I thought she must have got up in the night to feed her dog Rusty using the knife to cut up his food and then had a heart attack.

Mr Twose went on: "My eyesight isn't very good so when I saw a patch of red in the lower part of her stomach I thought it was a pattern on her night dress."

Only later did he realise the stain was blood.

A knife lying beside the body was clean, he added.

According to Mr Twose, the "frenzied" attack left very little blood on the carpeted stairwell.

He said: "I believe it must have soaked into the carpet. The position of the body was very strange.

"Her head was against the wall and both her arms were raised above her head in two "C" shapes."

Mr Twose called an ambulance while a neighbour fed Rusty in the kitchen.

He went on: "At that time I still thought it must have been an accident. She was on warfarin and I thought the fall could have caused the blood."

Only when he joined neighbours in the kitchen did Mr Twose begin to suspect an intruder.

"I pulled the kitchen blind up to get some light. That was when I saw some broken glass by the kitchen window. There were no other signs of a break in."

According to Mr Twose, nothing appeared to be stolen including the diamond rings worn by Mrs Albert.

He called the police who told him his wife and the two neighbours with a key who had let them in should leave the premises immediately.

He said: "It just doesn't make sense. Joan was worried about security and she'd just had a 999 phone installed by her bed. She would never have come downstairs if she had heard the sound of breaking glass. But she might have opened the door to someone she knew."

Joan Albert's beloved dog Rusty, already in poor health when his mistress was murdered, has since died. His ashes were buried with Mrs Albert.

Police remain adamant that they will find Joan Albert's killer. Chief Inspector Roy Lambert, the man leading the hunt, said: "We remain determined to catch whoever is responsible for Joan's murder an we are convinced that - with the continuing support of the local community, we will bring this enquiry to a successful conclusion."

The Evening Star and Capel businesses have offered a 5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the pensioner's murder.

Anyone with any information about the murder of Joan Albert is asked to call the incident room on 01473 613777.

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