Police link kidnap man's car to killers: Abductors use victim's cashcard leaving 'trail of clues'

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THE HUNT for the killers of the kidnapped Hampshire accountant whose body was found dumped on a deserted beach, was concentrated last night on the area where his stolen car was discovered.

Investigations in the Fratton area of Portsmouth have established that the blue, L-registration Vauxhall Astra, was seen several times between last Monday and its discovery on Thursday night.

Residents have told detectives that the car may have been moved and returned to the spot on Tuesday and Wednesday, suggesting the killers live locally.

There are no signs that Grant Price, 43, of Lee-on-Solent, who was abducted by two or three men in a car park at Gosport on 21 January, was murdered in the car.

His body was discovered last Friday night on an isolated shingle beach at Hurst Spit, near Lymington. The location was just above the high-water mark and the body had not been in the water.

The nearest point to park a car is at least two miles away and police believe that his killers may have made him walk to the spot where his body was found. Mr Price had been stabbed many times and had been dead for at least 24 hours.

Last night, Detective Chief Superintendent Roger Hoddinott, head of Hampshire CID, warned that the killers, who are believed to have abducted Mr Price to steal his car, could strike again.

Detectives are also linking the abduction with an attack two hours earlier on another man in a multi-storey car park in Fareham, about six miles from Gosport. John Wink, 20, a student, was stabbed in the hand and leg when two men tried to take his car. One was aged 19 to 20 and wearing a light-coloured woollen hat with the rim turned back and a lumberjack-style shirt; the other was 17 to 20, with brown spikey hair, possibly wearing a red-checked shirt.

Detectives say the abductors of Mr Price left a 'trail of clues' across Hampshire. About 90 minutes after Mr Price's abduction, his cashcard was used by a young man at the National Westminster Bank and the Trustee Savings Bank at Alton.

The man who used the card at Alton is said to have been aged about 23, clean-shaven with a fresh complexion, round face, wavy fair hair and was neatly dressed in a cream bomber-type jacket.

Later, the card was used for a balance request at a Midland Bank branch in Winchester. Further attempts were made to use the card at a National Westminster Bank branch in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, shortly after midnight on Saturday, and at the same branch on the following Sunday and Monday evenings. Mr Price's wallet and other papers were found at Cosham, north of Portsmouth, on the Monday evening. Detectives have appealed for witnesses, particularly anyone in the Hurst Spit area who might have seen a strange car or boat, to come forward.

Mr Price was taking his son, David, nine, to the opticians when he was abducted.

(Photograph omitted)

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