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Search of Adrian Bradshaw's former home

PUBLISHED: 19:30 20 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

IAN Heeley was fast asleep on that cold December morning.

A ring on the door bell was just the start to an eventful day.

As he hobbled down the stairs from his

bedroom, still rubbing his eyes, little did he realise what was in store.

IAN Heeley was fast asleep on that cold December morning.

A ring on the door bell was just the start to an eventful day.

As he hobbled down the stairs from his

bedroom, still rubbing his eyes, little did he realise what was in store.

When he first saw the officers standing outside his home, the 51-year-old thought the worst.

Had his parents been hurt, or even worse, killed in a car crash? Was it his daughter, Dawn?

There were so many things going through his mind.

All he was told by the policemen

confronting him on his front doorstep was that they had a warrant to search his house in

connection with the murder of Vicky Hall.

Mr Heeley knew about the crime which had hit the headlines ... but was dumbfounded that the long arm of the law had stretched into the privacy of his own home. He had no idea that the man now acquitted, Adrian Bradshaw, was the previous occupant of his house.

Mr Heeley had been through some tough times in his life, none more so than when he lost his right leg back in August 1980

following an accident at the Port of Felixstowe.

"I had a fight with a railway truck... and lost," he said some years later.

It was a comment which is typical of his attitude to life, despite the hardships he has had to endure – but he had difficulty

summoning up any humour when six

policemen came calling on him at The Wheelwrights.

As the day unfolded, there were no smiles from him as his house was searched with a fine toothcomb.

Officers took away a multitude of items including dust and dirt samples and even the U-bends from his bathroom and kitchen.

He recalls how he had moved into the house at the beginning of October after sadly ending a seven-year relationship with his partner. The couple had been living in Queen's Road, Felixstowe.

Mr Heeley, who was awarded the MBE in 1994 for helping to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity, found rented accommodation in Trimley.

Just prior to moving into the house, he and his 23-year-old daughter spent a week clearing up the place and redecorating.

When that knock on the door came, it was a

shattering experience for him.

"I was dead to the world really. Fast asleep," he remembers.

"First I thought I heard a knock and then I heard the doorbell ringing. When I opened it my first reaction was that they had come to say that my parents or my daughter had been hurt in an accident.

"But this chap had a warrant and asked if he could come in. I was told that the house was to be strip-searched in connection with the Vicky Hall inquiry.

"I asked them what they were looking for, but all they would tell me was that they were looking for a foreign object.

"I remember hearing during the day that a 26-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the

murder.

"When they confronted me that morning and told me what they wanted to do, I'll admit I was scared. It was a feeling of the unknown. What would they find? Would it be pointing the finger at me? There were so many things going through my head that morning."

Forensic officers started their detailed search in the loft, gradually making their way through the house and anything they deemed of interest to their investigations they took. They also took photographs in almost every conceivable place.

"I just sat downstairs and let them get on with it. There was nothing else I could do.

"I have to say they were very clean and tidy and put everything back.

"They took the bath panels off and dismantled the washbasin to get to the U-bends. They even took

samples of the water in the bends which they took away for what I can only assume was some form of analysing.

"A cupboard in the bedroom was taken out and then they came downstairs and took the U-bends out from the kitchen sink and washing machine.

"Tape was used to pick up dust and dirt samples."

As word got round that Mr Heeley's house was being searched by officers, he started to receive

malicious telephone calls during the day and at night after police finally left the house at 4pm.

"The whole affair has left a scar on me and in many ways I feel as if society has let me down and that my human rights had been violated by the search warrant."

In February, he left The Wheelwrights and moved into a new home in King Street, Felixstowe.

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