Exeter murder case: Gun 'found near body' of victim, 80

Anthony Payne

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Anthony Payne, 80, was described as a “decent, ordinary bloke” by his friend

A friend of one of three men in their 80s found dead in Exeter has described how he found his body – and an antique pistol next to him.

Keith Baker, 68, who found Anthony Payne dead at the 80-year-old’s Bonhay Road home on Monday, said he found the gun on the bed nearby.

Twins Dick and Roger Carter, 84, were found dead in Cowick Lane the next day.

Police previously said a gun was not used. A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion on murder.

Detectives have until 22:00 GMT to question him.

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A forensic tent remains outside the property where Anthony Payne was found dead on Monday

Mr Baker said Anthony Payne, known as Tony, had been living with him since September and they had known each other for years.

He said he had not seen his friend since Saturday, and went to the house in Bonhay Road, where Mr Payne had lived previously, to see if he was there feeding his cats.

Mr Baker told the BBC he found Mr Payne on his bedroom floor between his bed and the wall.

“I tried to feel a pulse but I couldn’t get anywhere near his neck, that’s how bad he was jammed in there,” he said.

‘Bit of a curmudgeon’

Mr Baker said there was an antique pistol on the bed but he thought it was too old to have been fired.

“I could see there was something seriously wrong so I called an ambulance,” he added.

Mr Payne had worked on a farm after leaving school, before doing National Service in the Army, and later did building work, according to Mr Baker.

Outside of work Mr Payne was a big Exeter City fan who enjoyed maintaining his allotment and looking after his cats, particularly one called Boxer, who was the “apple of his eye”, Mr Baker said.

He added: “He was a decent, ordinary 80-year-old bloke and I say it with affection but he was a bit of a curmudgeon.”

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Keith Baker said he had known Anthony Payne for years

A friend of one of the twin brothers who were murdered said he “wouldn’t have done anything to harm anybody”.

Martyn Liddon, who runs Exeter-based charity Men in Sheds, said he became friends with Dick Carter when talking to him on the bus.

He said the brothers were both recluses and he could not understand what had happened.

“When I heard about it I had tears in my eyes,” he added.

“I was totally gutted because they wouldn’t have done anything to harm anybody.”

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The crime scenes are being guarded by police as tributes are left outside

Police were first called to Bonhay Road at 15:00 on Monday where Mr Payne’s body was found.

Officers then found the Carter brothers dead about 1.5 miles (2.4km) away at 13:00 on Tuesday.

The levels of violence involved in the deaths led detectives to link the deaths.

On Wednesday, Det Ch Insp Roy Linden said “significant police resources” had been committed to the investigation and officers were managing more than 155 “priority lines of inquiry” and had seized nearly 300 exhibits.

He said there was “no clear motive” and “no clear relationship” between the parties involved.

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