Abigail Witchalls suspect commits suicide

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A suspect in the knife attack on Abigail Witchalls has died in hospital in Scotland after taking a suspected overdose, it was reported last night.

A suspect in the knife attack on Abigail Witchalls has died in hospital in Scotland after taking a suspected overdose, it was reported last night.

Richard Cazaly, 23, who was from the same Surrey village as Mrs Witchalls and was questioned over the attack died on 30 April in an Edinburgh hospital after taking a large overdose of painkillers.

Detectives investigating the attempted murder are now examining his movements during the period before he died. Prior to his suicide, Cazaly, who lived half a mile from Mrs Witchalls home, near where she was stabbed in front of her 21-month-old son, Joseph, in Little Bookham, Surrey, on 20 April, was not a formal suspect in the case.

Police had only spoken to him informally during house-to-house enquiries, and at a roadblock, it was reported last night. But following the developments, he is now being regarded as a "significant suspect".

Police believe Cazaly, a landscape gardener, drove to Scotland by himself five days after the attack, on 25 April. He apparently drove a blue car, the same colour vehicle that witnesses had claimed to have seen near the scene of the attack.

Three days later, he was admitted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness. He was transferred to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on the same day, where he died two days later. It was reported last night that he is understood to have written a suicide note but no details as to what it contained were available last night .

A report has been made to the procurator fiscal in Scotland, who will decide whether to hold a fatal accident investigation, which is the Scottish equivalent of an inquest, a Surrey Police spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said the "large and complex" investigation into the attempted murder "continues to take huge leaps forward. Forensic examinations, including DNA tests, are now being carried out to see whether he carried out the attack.

"The case presents very complex forensic issues that are being progressed as quickly as possible but which will nevertheless take some weeks to resolve, even using the latest and most advanced techniques," the spokeswoman said.

Mrs Witchalls was able to communicate vital information to detectives investigating the attack my by blinking. She agreed to several hours of questioning, which led to the arrest of a 25-year-old man in late April, who was released without charge on 29 April.

Earlier this month, police said the profile of the man they are looking for includes someone with a definite history of violence, a strong connection to the area and knowledge of its criss-crossing paths and shortcuts, as well as ready access to a blue car that Mrs Witchalls saw her attacker drive.

Officers worked through the list of about 40 suspects drawn up after more than 700 calls from the public. Neighbours are reported to have told the police hat Cazaly was an "oddball", but he did not form a large focus of the investigation.