Man of 71 held captive, tortured and stabbed to death in his home

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The Independent Online

A man aged 71 is believed to have been imprisoned and tortured in his home before being stabbed to death. West Yorkshire Police said yesterday that Leonard Farrar, a former merchant seaman, was the victim of a "sustained attack" that must have taken time.

Mr Farrar, who had also worked as a taxi driver before he retired six years ago, was last seen in his garden at 10.30pm on Thursday. He was found dead in the hallway of his home in Beeston, Leeds, at 6.35pm on Saturday, a day after his car was discovered burnt out near by.

Detective Superintendent Howard Crowther, who is leading the investigation, said he believed the two events were "inextricably linked" although the motive for the crime was not clear.

A post-mortem examination established that Mr Farrar, a bachelor who had lived alone since the death of his brother several years ago, died from multiple stab wounds, but Mr Crowther refused to reveal how many times he was stabbed. No murder weapon has yet been found.

He described the victim as a sturdy man and said there were indications that he had tried to defend himself during the vicious attack. There were no signs of forced entry at the house or signs of robbery.

"The circumstances in which the car was found would lead me to believe that more than one person was involved," said Mr Crowther.

Kelly Brook, 25, who lived next door to Mr Farrar, said she and her family were distraught when they heard the news.

Mrs Brook, who has two children, added: "The people I've spoken to just can't believe that it's happened, especially as nobody heard anything. I think everybody's really, really shocked.

"I wished we heard something and maybe we could have helped him. He was such a nice guy. I just don't know why anybody would want to hurt him."

Another neighbour, Julie Gardner, 40, said the modest two-storey semi-detached house was named "Ken Len" after the brothers. Mrs Gardner said: "He was a nice friendly chap. We used to talk about plants over the fence."

Manjit Matharu, 45, who owns the Happy Shopper convenience store near the victim's house, described Mr Farrar as "just a nice gentle guy". He added: "It has come as a real shock to the community. He was a bit absent-minded and he used to leave his door open now and again.

"I have heard that he has had stuff pinched regularly, but you never expect it to go to that extent. On somebody as old as that you don't need to use a weapon. He was just a nice gentle guy as far as I'm concerned."