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Man and teenager charged with murder of 83-year-old in Essex

Posted at Jan 03, 2021

A 16-year-old boy and a 28-year-old man have been charged with the murder of a pensioner who was strangled at his home.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and the man, Leighton Snook, are due to appear at Colchester magistrates court on Monday accused of killing Donald Ralph, 83.

The victim’s body was found at his home in the village of Aldham, near Colchester, Essex, on Tuesday.

Essex police said a postmortem found he had died from strangulation.

Snook, of no fixed address, and the 16-year-old, from Leicester, have both been charged with murder and theft of a motor vehicle, while Snook also faces a charge of possession of an offensive weapon.

Essex police previously said Ralph’s car, a blue Volvo V50 which was stolen from outside his home, was later found in Hastings, East Sussex.

Two men, aged 30 and 39, and a 21-year-old woman, have been released on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Ralph’s family have described him as a man who loved being in the countryside and was “very young at heart”.

His niece, Tina Ralph, said: “He was a man who loved all things countryside, particularly fishing and the Norfolk Broads, as well as being an avid bird lover.

“He loved horse racing and spent many a happy Saturday having a little flutter.

“Don was a unique character, who will be much missed by his wide circle of friends and all his family.”