Murder suspect description released as police urge calm

DETECTIVES have released a description of a suspect wanted for the murder of Martin Hughes, who was stabbed to death in Wester Hailes.

The 33-year-old was attacked in a block of flats in Wester Hailes Park on Monday and later died after being rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Investigators said the murder suspect is around 30 years old, around 6ft tall with fair/ginger hair and is believed to be local to the Wester Hailes area.

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Detectives urged anyone who knows the suspect to contact police, but stressed there was "no wider danger to the public at large" while he remained on the loose.

Uniformed patrols have been increased in the area to reassure the public while the manhunt continues.

When last seen, the suspect was leaving the rear of the flats where the attack happened before making off over a square and into the rear of another block of flats, when he was lost to sight.

He was wearing a dark tracksuit top with a zip and light-coloured tracksuit bottoms at the time.

Detective Inspector Matt Richards, who is leading the investigation, said: "This was a tragic incident that has resulted in the needless death of a young man who was popular within the local community, and we are appealing for any witnesses who haven't yet contacted police to come forward.

"Anyone who was in the area of Wester Hailes Park on Monday afternoon, who saw the victim or the suspect there, should get in touch as a matter of urgency.

"Anyone else who has any information that can assist our inquiries should also contact us.

"At this time we are following a positive line of inquiry, and there is no wider danger to the public at large. However, we have stepped up uniformed patrols in the area in order to provide reassurance and support to local residents."

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Mr Hughes, who lived in Wester Hailes Park, was seen staggering from the common stairs of the flats after being stabbed before he collapsed on the roadway outside. An ambulance was called and rushed him to the ERI where he succumbed to his injuries.

Mr Hughes had contacted the council's community safety team to complain that eggs had been thrown at his flat and his window had been smashed just four days before he was stabbed to death.

Council chiefs said Mr Hughes had made the complaint to them and it was being investigated, but added that he had not contacted police over the incident.

It is understood that officers do not believe the vandal attack on his home was connected to his death.

Mr Hughes was described by neighbours as an animal lover who was devoted to his Alsatian dog, Chomp.

Anyone with any information on the incident, or the whereabouts of the suspect, is asked to contact police on 0131-311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and anonymity on 0800-555 111.

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