Monday, August 27, 2012
WOMEN WARNED ABOUT ONLINE DATING WITH MURDER SUSPECT
by Helen Pidd
(U.K.) A man suspected of burning his girlfriend to death in her own home has a history of meeting women through dating and social networking websites, police have warned.
Greater Manchester police believe George Appleton may have tried to contact women on Facebook and other sites since going on the run last Friday, when the badly burned body of Clare Wood, 36, was discovered at her home in Salford.
He is a regular user of Facebook and is known to use a number of aliases on dating websites. Anyone who has made contact with him in recent days is urged not to arrange to meet him, but to call the police. Wood was discovered in the bedroom of her house on Friday afternoon. Appleton, 40, who lives nearby, is understood to have been in a relationship with Wood, who had a 10-year-old daughter.
Detective Superintendent Pete Jackson, who is leading the investigation, said: "George, if you are hearing this message, please listen to me. I want to speak to you and I want you to get some help. Please phone your solicitor or the police. Please tell us where you are and whether you are OK so we can get you some proper help." He added: "We are investigating the horrible murder of a young mum and are leaving no stone unturned to find the person who killed her."
At least four women are thought to have contacted police to say they had online contact with Appleton before Wood's murder. On his Facebook page, Appleton, who is unemployed, lists his activities as "wouldent ya like to know" and his interests as "music, computors, DJing, films".
Wood had reportedly recently signed up to Zoosk, one of Britain's top dating sites. She wrote in her ad: "I am a talkative, affectionate woman who would love to hear from someone who is relatively sane in my area.I would like to meet a respectful, affectionate man. Not looking for a one-night stand, so if this is what you want walk away. "Also someone who likes a larger lady is an advantage but they must be flexible as I am shrinking rapidly."
Detectives said the suspect also has a form of the spinal condition spondylitis and is not believed to have any medication with him. CCTV footage of Appleton taken outside his block of flats in Adelphi Court the day before Wood's body was found in nearby St Simon Street was released yesterday.
He is seen wearing tracksuit bottoms with a white stripe down the leg, white Reebok trainers, a dark-coloured padded jacket and a woollen hat with brown, red and purple stripes. It is possible he is driving a red Ford Escort, registration N554 HYG, and could be parked up, sleeping in his car. He is known to have links in the Warrington area and in Leicestershire and Gloucestershire.
Ms Wood's grandparents Geoff and Catherine Camponi paid tribute to her as a "lovely kind person who would never harm anyone".