A SHOTGUN is said to have been found next to the body of an “OAP serial killer” victim as three were found dead suffering the same violent head injuries.
Cops have launched a “fast-moving” investigation into the deaths of the pensioners, all killed in Exeter within a 24-hour period in two separate homes.
Tonight sources told The Sun Online that an antiquated shotgun was found next to the body of the 80-year-old victim, named locally as Anthony Payne.
Police were not available last night to put the claim to them or to say whether the gun had been used in the killing spree.
The two other victims have been named locally as 84-year-old old twins Dick and Roger Carter, killed in their homes only 1.6miles away.
Detectives refused to say if a weapon was used, only saying post mortems were being carried out yesterday.
A 27-year-old man was arrested in connection with all three deaths, as Superintendent Matt Lawler urged locals to pay a visit to their elderly neighbours and relatives.
He said: “Check on the elderly. It’s a real opportunity for the community to come together.
“We want to reassure [the elderly] around personal and home security but if they need additional support then contact police.”
A heart-wrenching message was left on his doorstep of the home where the 80-year-old victim’s body was discovered.
The note, which had been there for a month, read: “Elderly man, 80 years of age wants accommodation for himself and his pet cat. Any replies to Bonhay Road.”
Exeter University students Flora, Robbie, Matilda, who lived next door to the 80-year-old man, said today: “We never saw him. Once maybe.
Matilda added: “I met him when I moved in and introduced myself, and I saw him once on the roads but that’s it. He was a pretty quiet guy.”
One resident on the road said: “It sends a chill down your spine”.
Less than 24 hours later, the bodies of the twins were found at a house 1.6 miles away in the Cowick Lane area of the city.
Detective Chief Inspector Roy Linden, from the major crime investigation team, said: “At this time there are several and significant common factors between the two addresses.
“In terms of the level of violence used we decided last night to link the investigations. Originally they were treated as two separate murder investigations. One suspect has been identified and formally arrested yesterday evening.”
Describing the investigation as “fast moving”, he added: “There were significant levels of injuries and some commonality between the two incidents, which led us to link those investigations and treat them as one single investigation at the moment”.
Superintendent Matt Lawler added: “I know that this news will cause significant and understandable concern and is an unprecedented event in our city which has shocked us all.
“Based on our current information we have yet to establish a clear connection between the parties involved.
“While a man has been arrested on suspicion of murder we must keep an open mind and avoid speculation as we are still at the very early stages of what is already a very complex investigation.”
It is not known at this stage if the three men were known to each other – or the suspect.
It’s thought the twins lived together at the house close to the Cowick Barton pub.
Forensic officers and detectives were seen going in and out of both properties today, bagging up evidence and speaking to neighbours.
One floral tribute left at the Cowick Lane scene said: “To Dick and Roger. Will miss your conversations and drives to Sainsbury’s. RIP, Doris and Fred.”
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Matthew Cribb, who works at Thairapy, which is close to the house, said: “They were a couple of elderly identical twins.
“They kept themselves very much to themselves. They weren’t customers here though.
“It is a surprise. An area like this, it’s a pretty safe area. It’s not what you expect.”
Jim Wright, owner of Broadway Stores, told Devon Live: “One of the brothers used to come in here every day and buy the paper and often jump on a bus into town.
“The other had arthritis but would walk 40 minutes to Sainsbury’s on a regular basis. They pretty much kept themselves to themselves. One was a bit more able than the other.
“This is a great community and everyone has been asking about what happened.”
One couple said they’d known the twins for 50 years.
They said: “We knew each other to say hello and we think they were born there. They had a Boxer dog called Odin, after the God.
“We found out after being visited by police. We are shattered and shocked.
“They kept themselves to themselves and were quiet. We never saw them together at the same time.
“One of them used to walk to Sainsbury’s every day despite having a crippled foot.”
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Anyone who was in the area of Bonhay road and Cowick Lane between 8am on Sunday 10 February and 1pm on Tuesday 12 February and may have seen anything relevant should contact police.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log 472 February 11.
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