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Four quizzed over murder of Mohammed Saleem Khan
10:31am Tuesday 25th September 2012 in News
Police officers search for evidence in Long Street, Easingwold, following the murder of Mohammed Saleem Khan
FOUR people were still being held by police last night in connection with the murder of a man in Easingwold.
A 26-year-old local man was arrested early yesterday on suspicion of stabbing to death Mohammed Saleem Khan, who was found dead in a van in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Three other local people – a woman aged 20, and men aged 21 and 25 – were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.
The arrests came as police mounted a massive search in Easingwold yesterday to find the murder weapon, looking through bushes and down drains near the scene of the stabbing in Long Street.
Police initially believed Mr Khan, 36, from Luton, but recently living in Birmingham, had been injured when the van he was driving hit two bollards but following further inquiries and a post mortem examination, he was found to have diedas a result of a stab to the neck.
Detective Chief Inspector Heather Pearson said one of a number of lines of inquiry being explored was that it may have been an unprovoked, racially motivated attack, although she was keeping an open mind about the motive.
She said Mr Khan, a family man, was delivering shower products in North Yorkshire in a hired white Europcar Ford Transit van at the weekend. He was believed to have been in Easingwold from 7pm on Saturday evening.
“This is a tragic incident for Mr Khan’s family and specially trained officers are supporting them at this extremely difficult time,” she said.
“I would like to thank members of the public in Easingwold for their tremendous support in helping us to progress this investigation and for coming forward with information that is assisting our inquiries.
“However, I would urge anyone who has information regarding the murder of Mr Khan or anyone who was in and around Long Street in Easingwold between 7pm on Saturday, September 22 and 7am on Sunday, September 23, to contact North Yorkshire Police or Crimestoppers as soon as possible.
“At this time a murder weapon has not been found and I am appealing to members of the public in Easingwold to report any discarded objects – be they weapons or clothing – to the police.
“I am also keen to establish the movements of Mr Khan. He was driving a white Europcar Ford Transit van and it is believed that he may have been in and around Easingwold for a period of hours prior to his murder.
“I am anxious to identify where he has been and who he has been with during this time frame”
•Anyone with information should phone the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Town in shock over death
RESIDENTS and community leaders in Easingwold have spoken of their shock at the murder.
The Mayor of Easingwold and chair of the town council, Coun Diane Gallon, said: “We are very shocked, and we are particularly shocked by the police suggestion that it may have been racially motivated.
“We occasionally have late-night incidents in Long Street, but nothing of this sort.”
Businessman Rupert Smith, of G H Smith printers and publishers, said: “I think everyone in Easingwold is shocked, because murder is not the norm. It’s not what you expect. We haven’t had a murder in the area for over ten years and even longer in the town itself.
“It’s very sad for the victim and his family, and its equally sad if anyone from Easingwold is involved.”
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “This sort of thing just doesn’t happen in a town like this.”
Meanwhile, Easingwold School emailed a message to parents yesterday to reassure them there was no cause for alarm.