When friends hadn’t seen 50-year-old Alan Wood for a few days, they began to worry.
When they went to his home to check on him, they were horrified at what they found.
This week we concentrate on the murder of Alan Wood.
Listen to the episode below:
Today’s case is the murder of Alan Wood.
Lound is a village in Lincolnshire, a county on England’s Eastern coast. Situated approximately 16 miles north of Peterborough, it can trace its routes back to the Domesday book of 1086 and has grown since then when it consisted of just 18 households, a couple of mills and a church.
It’s also the location where 50-year old Alan Wood was found dead at home 10 years ago on 24th October 2009, having suffered a brutal and sustained attack. An attack where the attacker – or attackers – have never been caught.
Alan Wood’s history
Alan was the eldest of three children of Jim and Maureen Wood. Born in Gillingham, Alan had grown up in the village of Careby along with his sisters Janice and Sylvia.
Described as a very gentle, kind man who liked a quiet life, Alan was a keen gardener with a love of motorbikes, especially a black Triumph Speed Triple which he had for several years.
He was also a fan of photography – especially “old fashioned” cameras rather than the latest digital technology, and it was not uncommon for Alan to take wedding pictures for some of his friends.
The Willoughby Arms
Alan’s social life centred around visiting The Willoughby Arms pub in nearby Little Bytham, where he was often be found sitting at the bar with a pint and a packet of peanuts, reading a newspaper and chatting to his friends.
Alan left school to start work at Warners Printers in the Lincolnshire town of Bourne. After several years working there he was made redundant, and decided upon a new direction in life
Choosing to concentrate on his love of gardening, he worked for Rassells Nursery in Little Bytham, and then Barnsdale Gardens, before setting up on his own and starting the gardening business, Gardens TLC.
Three years before his death. Alan had taken on a part time role at the local Sainsbury’s store in Bourne where he was said to be a popular member of staff amongst his colleagues.
Alan married Joanne in 1986 (though some sources say 1992), and although the couple separated in 2003, they were still very close and remained on good terms.
His mother, Maureen, still lives in Stamford, along with his sister, Janice. His other sister Sylvia, lives in France.
As Alan had no children of his own he was instead a devoted uncle to his nieces and nephews and loved spending time with them.
The discovery of Alan’s body
Early in the morning of Saturday 24th October 2009, one of Alan’s friends arrived at his Manor House for a visit. Finding both the front and back doors wide open, and no response from calling out for Alan, the friend contacted Alan’s landlord, who arrived at the property to investigate further, and together the two entered the bungalow.
What they found was a gruesome scene, and purportedly one of the worst ever seen by Lincolnshire Police.
Carefully making their way into the living room they saw Alan’s body laying face down on the floor. It was apparent that Alan had been dead for some time, and lay in a congealed pool of blood.
Despite this horrific scene, the house showed no signs of ransacking or burglary, with the only thing found to be missing from the property being Alan’s bank cards.
The murder of Alan Wood
It was at The Willoughby Arms that Alan was last seen alive on 21st October – 3 days before his body was discovered – having done some shopping in Morrisons in Stamford, Alan had a drink in the pub before saying goodbye to his friends and returning home to where he lived on Edenham Road.
Police believe that it was the following day, Thursday 22nd October, that Alan was disturbed at home. They believe that he was in bed, reading, when something caused him to go to the front door.
Upon answering the door it is believed that he was then overpowered by two men, who dragged him through to the living room and bound his hands with Sellotape.
It was believed that Alan was subjected to extreme levels of violence and torture – including being stabbed in the head and eye – which the police believe was to get him to reveal his PIN numbers for the cards which were stolen and later used by the killer.
A total of eleven attempts were made to use the stolen cards, though only two of these were successful. CCTV from several of these attempts helped to narrow down the timeline of the murder as it showed a figure (who definitely was not Alan) with his features hidden using the cashpoint at 9pm on the Thursday evening.
The multiple use of ATM machines is said to be the reason that police believe at least two people were involved in the murder, with at least one person staying behind to guard Alan whilst the card was used.
Having been given the wrong PIN number, the attackers returned to inflict more torture. Alan then had his throat cut and was left to die on his living room floor.
If that sounds bad enough, he was then mutilated by his killer: A wound was inflicted to the back of his head which the police believe was “the start of an attempt at decapitation”
Detectives struggled to gain traction almost immediately: Neighbours had reported not hearing any screams or sounds of a struggle. Alan was well-liked in the community with no known enemies. He wasn’t known to be involved in anything illegal or illicit.
In fact, no clear motive was available.
The murder was so gruesome that CrimeStoppers put up £10,000 as a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator, which was on top of £40,000 offered by Alan’s place of work, Sainsburys.
This makes it one of the largest rewards offered in a UK murder Investigation.
During the attack it appears that one of Alan’s killers injured himself (possibly to his hand although this is not certain) and left blood at the scene. This enabled officers to capture a full male DNA profile.
Despite being run through the National DNA Database and there are no matches. The profile has also been sent to all other countries around the world which run national DNA databases with no luck.
After establishing during the early stages of the investigation that Alan’s bank cards had been used in cash points in Bourne and Stamford over a couple of days after his murder, detectives spent thousands of hours searching through CCTV images to try to find who had carried out the attack.
Described as being between 5ft 9in to 5ft 11in tall , dressed in a “smart casual” manner and wearing a distinctive striped scarf experts outside of the police force have studied the CCTV footage and have said that the suspect has an unusual walk.
The conclusion is that that he limps due to his right leg being slightly longer than his left leg though strangely the same experts have said that the suspect may not be aware that he walks oddly.
Detectives also revealed that they believe the suspect had good local knowledge as he was able to avoid many CCTV systems.
A footprint from a Converse trainer was found at the scene which officers believe belonged to one of the offenders.
Aided by Converse and market experts, extensive research has narrowed the type of trainer down to one particular upper, which is available in two different styles and is predominantly sold in Europe and North America.
In addition to that, Alan’s hands were bound with sellotape. Small fragments of paper were found embedded in the tape.
Further analysis revealed the paper was fragments of a Delaine bus ticket – a local transport firm that runs buses in the Bourne area.
Drivers and passengers were questioned and CCTV from buses was scrutinised. Based on these enquiries, the investigation team concluded that Alan Wood was not likely to have been the owner of the ticket.
There is no evidence he was a bus user and staff and regular users did not seem to know him.
It is therefore theorised that one or more offenders had used a Delaine bus close to the time of the crime and that the ticket had fallen out of their pocket during the attack and become embedded in the tape.
Police have said that the DNA profile may belong to someone that was visiting the country and is no longer in the UK.
Four people have been interviewed about the murder, though no arrests have been made.
Pawel Wrzyszcz, a Polish national who is thought to have lived and worked in the Peterborough at the time, is still being sought to help police with their enquiries, though Lincolnshire Police have stressed that they do not believe he was involved in the incident himself.
Pawel is reported to have worked at a local car wash centre that Alan frequented.
Clive Driscoll, a former detective chief inspector with the Met Police, re-examined the case for a 2015 documentary and described it as “baffling”.
It struck me that everything felt like this was actually somebody he knew. It’s almost as if he willingly opened the door, not believing the danger he was in.
But then the attack was incredibly frantic and incredibly personal.Clive Driscoll
He went on to say that he believed this indicated Alan may have known his killer.
There have been many guesses as to what led to Alan’s murder, though the most likely theory is that the killers confused him for the manager at the Sainsburys branch where he worked.
Said to be of the same size and build, it’s possible that the attackers confused the two men and followed the wrong man, attacking him to get access to the keys for the store and arguably a far bigger haul than the few hundred pounds they ultimately stole from Alan.
Manor Lodge, where Alan Wood lived, was kept as a crime scene for two years but has since been demolished.
Alan’s mum said: “I think I’m getting over the shock, and coming to terms with Alan’s death, although it’s not easy. What I’m not coming to terms with, and what I’m finding very difficult, is asking why?”
During the episode we mention the CCTV footage of the suspect which we have put further down the page.
References & Further Reading:
Alan Wood’s suspected murderer – CCTV footage:
Alan Wood murder appeal – 10 years on:
Lincs police page: https://www.lincs.police.uk/news-campaigns/alan-wood-murder
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Music used in this episode: All music used is sourced from http://freemusicarchive.org/ or http://www.opsound.org/ and is used under an Attribution Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
PYROMANIAC (ARSONIST EDIT) by Pablo Perez.
Next case: The murder of Joanna Yeates