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Last Updated: Friday, 29 August, 2003, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Murder hunt launched
Eric Hingston
Mr Hingston had been sleeping in the bedroom with the window open
A murder hunt is under way in Devon after a pensioner was stabbed to death by burglars.

Police are hunting two men in connection with the murder of 85-year-old Eric Hingston.

He is believed to have been stabbed after waking to find intruders in his flat in Plympton.

He was found in the early hours of Friday by his wife Audrey, who is 81.
It ranks among the very worst I have seen in all my 29 years service
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Carney

The couple shared a small flat above a butcher's shop, which they ran for many years, and is now owned by their son.

Police said Mr Hingston had been sleeping in the bedroom on his own with the window open.

His wife, who had been sleeping on the sofa, was woken by noises and went into the bedroom where she was confronted by two men.

They escaped through the window on to a flat roof and Mrs Hingston found her husband lying on the floor.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Carney from Devon and Cornwall Police, who is leading the murder investigation, said two men were seen in the area shortly before police were called.

Murder weapon

"It is a very grave crime."

He said: "It is a tragedy that this should happen to two elderly people who were enjoying their retirement.

"It ranks amongst the very worst I have seen in all my 29 years' service."

Both men had distinctive hats, with one wearing a deerstalker and the other a woolly hat.

Police say they may have no connection with the murder but they need to come forward so they can be eliminated.

Detectives are now looking for the murder weapon which is thought to have been a knife.

The BBC's Polly Evans
"Police were called to Hingston's Butchers early this morning..."

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