Questions to answer over Spalding estate killing

Warren Free ANL-140409-140820001
Warren Free ANL-140409-140820001
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Detectives are no nearer confirming exactly how a 42-year-old dad-of-one died after being attacked at his home in Spalding.

Warren Free was found with serious injuries at his home in Coronation Close last Thursday morning and was airlifted to Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where he died in the early hours of Friday morning.

An inquest into Mr Free’s death was opened and adjourned to a later date by south Lincolnshire senior coroner Prof Robert Forrest in Boston yesterday when he described the death as “unnatural”.

Prof Forrest said: “My understanding is police were called to an incident at Coronation Close in Spalding just before midday on August 28 when a man had been assaulted.

“The man died as a result of his injuries and inquiries into his death are now ongoing.

“Several people have been arrested and a file is being prepared by the police for submission to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“While it is clear that Mr Free’s death is an unnatural one and is associated with his injuries, I am not yet in a position to confirm what the actual, detailed cause of death is.”

During the inquest, Prof Forrest revealed that Mr Free’s body was formally identified by his sister Bernice Medford at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, on Friday.

A post-mortem carried out on the body on Monday proved inconclusive as to the cause of death and Prof Forrest pledged to review the case on September 24 to determine whether a further post-mortem was needed.

Seven youths – five boys and two girls – were arrested, questioned and given police bail in connection to Mr Free’s death which detectives are treating as a murder inquiry.

More than 30 detectives from three counties – Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire – are involved in the inquiry, which is being led by DCI Martin Holvey.

“Lots of enquiries need to be completed through house-to-house visits and forensic tests, with a large number of officers being involved with the investigation,” DCI Holvey said.

“I am liaising with the CPS and a file of evidence needs to be sent to them when the investigation is completed.”

DCI Holvey also confirmed that a family liaison officer was working with the family while the investigation continues.

“It’s a very distressing time for them but they are working with my family liaison officer who is supporting them,” DCI Holvey said.

Meanwhile, Spalding community policing inspector Jim Tyner has warned against ‘trial by Facebook’ after he became the victim of an “angry mob” posting comments about him and the case on social media.

In his weekly On the Beat column (page 6), Insp Tyner said: “People without knowledge of the area or the circumstances (of this case) can make comment on any subject they wish without repercussions.

“I have been the victim of online trolls in recent weeks and I know of other victims who have recently been vilified online by anonymous commentators.

“It’s the 21st century equivalent of the angry mob rampaging with pitchforks and flaming torches.

“The investigation is continuing at a great pace and the last thing we need is for speculation and misinformation to jeopardise any future prosecution.”

Detectives have renewed their appeal for anyone with information about Mr Free’s death to come forward.

DCI Holvey said: “Anyone who has knowledge of Mr Free or saw anything in the Coronation Close and surrounding area, we are very keen to hear from them.

“No matter how insignificant it may be, it will be very useful to us.”

You can call the Major Incident Room on 101, quoting incident 161 of August 28, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.