Ex-boyfriend on the run after former Blunkett aide found murdered

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The Independent Online

A murdered Red Cross worker and the ex-boyfriend suspected of killing her both worked for the Home Office, it emerged yesterday.

Martin Collett, 35, has been missing since his girlfriend, Angela Hoyt, 34, was found at the house they shared in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, at around 5.20pm last Tuesday. Police said she may have been killed up to two days earlier.

Ms Hoyt, a former aide to David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, reportedly first started seeing Mr Collett six years ago when they both worked for the Home Office. She was a junior member of the media team while he was employed in a private office role.

Ms Hoyt, who is Canadian, is thought to have split up with Mr Collett about six months ago. Her family have claimed the couple's relationship was abusive and that she had given him until the end of May to move out. She reportedly told Hertfordshire Police she was being harassed less than a week before her death.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday from Ottawa, Canada, Ms Hoyt's twin sister, Ami Watanabe, said: "Martin had a terrible temper, and she wanted to make sure everything was legally recorded."

Speaking about the couple's relationship, she added: "They had fights, massive blow-ups. He pushed her and shoved her. Once she said he smacked her across the face. I saw the bruise a couple of days after.

"They'd break up but he was very manipulative and he'd persuade her to get together again. He'd say, 'Oh darling, I was such a fool. I'm sorry! How lovely you are. I am so proud of you'."

Ms Watanabe also alleged that Mr Collett had posted politically charged comments about Israel on his girlfriend's Facebook page while she was in Pakistan on a three-month Red Cross posting. She said that when her sister had returned on the Friday before her death, Mr Collett was in the house and refused to leave.

Ms Watanabe continued: "The police offered to physically remove him immediately from the house. But she told them she was determined to do things amicably. She said: 'He has nowhere to go.'

"She wanted to give him time to find somewhere to live and our father was going to wire her cash on Monday [23 May] so she could repay him money he had given her towards buying the house. She was supposed to give Dad her bank details last Monday. But none of us could reach her."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched a probe into the response to Ms Hoyt's claims of harassment. IPCC commissioner Sarah Green said: "The IPCC is investigating Hertfordshire Police's response to a report of harassment made at Hatfield Police Station on the afternoon of 20 May 2011. The woman who made the allegation, Angela Hoyt, was subsequently murdered."

Ms Hoyt, from Windsor, Ontario, was well-travelled and came to England in 1999 to study for a journalism degree. After working for the Home Office, she joined the Red Cross in 2008 as a public affairs and communications adviser.

Mr Collett has had several different careers. After gaining a PhD in physics, he joined the civil service. He then went to medical school in Liverpool before abandoning his plans to train as a pilot. Unable to find work, he rejoined the civil service last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ross, who is leading the investigation, said: "My team are making a number of inquiries across the country to trace Martin as a matter of urgency."