Estate searched in hunt for County Durham killer

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Fred Shipley
Image caption,
Mr Shipley was found dead in his kitchen

Open ground near a housing estate is being searched by police hunting the killer of a County Durham man.

Fred Shipley was discovered with serious head injuries at Paradise Crescent, Easington, on 3 July.

Detectives believe the vulnerable 59-year-old was bludgeoned to death with a hammer-like weapon in what was described as an "appalling attack."

Police are also looking to speak to two men and a woman who were seen close to Mr Shipley house before his attack.

Durham Police said the search was focusing on an area of open ground used as a short cut to and from Easington library on Seaside Lane and adjoining a housing estate known as the Coppice.

Supt Ken Donnelly, who is leading the murder investigation, said: "Our aim is to identify any items of evidence which could assist in finding Fred's killer."

Mr Donnelly added: "We are especially interested in speaking to two men and a woman in their early 20s who appeared to be having a disagreement in Davis Terrace at around 2am on 3 July."

Police said there were no signs of forced entry at Mr Shipley's, but he was known to leave his front door unlocked at times or may have known his attacker.

Officers were called after neighbours alerted Mr Shipley's family that he had not been seen all day.

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