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‘Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community’

‘Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community’

A “tight-knit” community helped police to solve a “brutal” double murder, according to one of the investigators.

'Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community'
‘Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community’

The Channel 4 programme 24 Hours in Police Custody is documenting the murders of Adam Fanelli and Patrick Howard in Houghton Regis.

Mr Fanelli was fatally stabbed while Mr Howard was knifed and run over by a car during the attack on 13 November 2022.

Det Con Jacob Hobday of Bedfordshire Police spoke to the BBC ahead of Tuesday’s episode.

He also revealed that officers “thought we were just attending a hit-and-run”.

'Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community'
‘Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community’

At 24, the youngest member of the force’s major crime unit said, on arriving at the scene on Tithe Farm Road, officers were faced with “something a lot more devastating”.

“Rather than being a car accident, it was around 20 seconds of carnage where lives were lost and people were seriously injured,” he said.

Anthony Bennison, 25, was convicted of two counts of murder while Nicholas Papworth, 33, was cleared over Mr Fanelli’s death, but found guilty of murdering Mr Howard.

'Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community'
‘Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community’

Within six months of the murders, the trial was under way, and by 3 July 2023, Papworth and Bennison were convicted.

Det Con Hobday said the “most important evidence” for such cases was “accounts from people” who were at the crime scene or arrived shortly afterwards.

He said one of the main challenges of violent crime was “a lack of engagement” from witnesses, “whether that’s out of fear or preconceived ideas of the police”.

But this case was “different”, he said, thanks to “the tight knit community in Houghton Regis”.

“A lot of people were willing to help us with the investigation, and that made a significant difference to how quickly we were able to solve it, and make sure the people responsible were held accountable.”

'Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community'
‘Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community’
'Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community'
‘Houghton Regis double murder was solved thanks to community’

He also said the crime was captured on CCTV which provided convincing evidence to the jury.

“A huge amount of officers and police staff work on a case of this size, so we can make sure justice is served,” he added.

The second episode of the two-part special airs on Tuesday evening.

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