Hobson lured twin to flat where sister died

Man sought over four murders still eludes police after a week on the run

The prime suspect in four murders lured one of his alleged victims to the flat where she died days after her twin sister had already been killed there.

Diane Sanderson received a telephone call from Mark Hobson before going round to his flat. She was not seen alive again. Her twin sister, Claire, who shared the flat with Mr Hobson, had been killed there between two and six days earlier.

Mr Hobson continued to elude detectives last night. In the absence of any meaningful lead, North Yorkshire Police distributed 10,000 leaflets at yesterday's race meeting at York, which attracted people from a wide area. The deployment of 30 officers to hand out photographs of Mr Hobson was "an unusual step but ... an essential one", said Detective Superintendent Javad Ali, who is leading the inquiry.

A police van equipped with a loudspeaker and covered in posters of Mr Hobson was also broadcasting a continuous appeal in Camblesforth, near Selby, scene of one of the double murders. At a news conference yesterday, Det Supt Ali also revealed new details in the investigation into the deaths of Claire, 27, and her twin sister, Diane, who were both found murdered at the flat in Camblesforth a week ago.

Scientific tests show that Claire, Mr Hobson's girlfriend, died between 11 July and 15 July. Police also know that Mr Hobson telephoned Diane on the evening of Saturday 17 July. She left the family home at 7.20pm in her car, telling her parents that she was going for a night out. She was not seen alive again.

Mr Hobson is also suspected of killing James Britton, 82, and his wife, Joan, 80, who were found stabbed with a kitchen knife 25 miles north of Camblesforth last Sunday. The incident has clear forensic links to the twins' deaths.

Det Supt Ali said he believed Mr Hobson may have lured Diane into visiting his flat - where the sisters were discovered beaten to death and dumped naked on the bedroom floor dead the next morning - because her sister had failed to contact the family earlier in the week.

Detectives are also now seeking advice on local suicide spots amid a growing belief among Mr Hobson's associates that he has killed himself rather than face capture.

Police are reluctant to discuss the prospect of suicide, for fear of creating complacency among a general public whose vigilance remains vital. But officers are satisfied they have now tracked down all of the former binman's associates - and none seems to have been contacted by him.

It also seems increasingly unlikely that he has any funds at his disposal to finance any kind of life on the run. Mr Hobson has lied to cover his tracks and has not been seen since the bodies were found. The Independent on Sunday has established that, at his best, Mr Hobson was a hard-working, funny and sometimes charismatic figure. Even the unpaid community service work he was ordered to do was carried out with aplomb, according to a fellow convict who worked alongside him. "There was no slacking. Mark gave it the lot," he said.

Det Supt Ali insisted yesterday that there would be no let up in the hunt for Hobson. "My advice is simply give yourself up and do it now."