Police fear man tortured for card codes

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The Independent Online

A burglar might have brutally tortured a businessman to death so he would hand over the codes to his bank cards, police said today.

Detectives made the revelation as they released CCTV footage of the suspect trying to withdraw money from the account of Alan Wood, who was stabbed to death in an attack at his detached bungalow in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

The 50-year-old, who had his own garden business, was found in a pool of his own blood by a worried colleague and neighbour on 24 October. He had been stabbed several times with a knife.

Detectives said the suspect in the CCTV footage tried to withdraw money from cash points on 11 different occasions in three days after Mr Wood went missing. He used a number of different cards belonging to the divorcee but was successful in withdrawing cash only twice.

It is not known whether Mr Wood had purposely given the man the wrong personal identification number (pin), only for him to return to his bungalow and continue the brutal attack.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Morrison, who is leading the investigation, said: "Given the type of violence used and given that we know whoever has done this has left with Mr Wood's pins, I cannot rule out violence being used to get the numbers."

Police have so far refused to say whether they have identified a suspect but said there was no sign of forced entry at Mr Wood's bungalow.

Speaking at a press conference at the nearby Sleaford Golf Club, Mr Morrison added: "The person who did this to Mr Wood doesn't deserve loyalty from anybody.

"His family are understandably distraught at what has happened and we are looking after them.

"They are obviously happy at what we are doing today if it brings us closer to finding out who did this to Alan."

He added: "I understand that people are rightly concerned and this person clearly has local knowledge.

"We have extra patrols in the area, as well as well as community teams available if anybody has any concerns at all."

Detectives said they had analysed hours of CCTV footage, taken from the town of Bourne, which is about 30 miles south-east of Grantham.

They had also trawled through Mr Wood's bank accounts as part of their investigation.

On 22 October, the day after Mr Wood was last seen in his local pub, the Willoughby Arms in Little Bytham, the suspect tried several different cards between 9.30pm and 9.40pm at an ATM at Sainsbury's in Bourne and on West Street in the town.

Only one attempt was successful but over the weekend the burglar tried again at cashpoints in nearby Stamford. Again, only one attempt was successful but he was captured on CCTV.

So far police have refused to say how much money was withdrawn.

Earlier, his mother Maureen Wood, 74, from Stamford, made an emotional appeal for witnesses to come forward.

She said: "Alan was friendly, placid and wouldn't hurt a fly.

"The brutal murder of this gentle man has devastated his family and friends. I cannot understand why anyone would want to hurt my son. The family and his friends are stunned and shocked.

"As far as any of us knew he didn't have an enemy in the world. He wasn't a coward, but if someone had an argument with him he would walk away. He wasn't into confrontation.

"Anyone who did this to Alan couldn't possibly have had a reason. If they'd do it to Alan with no reason then they'd do it to anyone. We need to catch whoever did this."

Mr Wood, who recently separated from his former wife Joanne, 44, had trained as a printer and then set up his own gardening business after being made redundant.