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Murder-arrest man wants to clear his name

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 22, 2012

  • Philip Williams

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Chief Reporter

A man arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly woman in Cornwall more than eight years ago wants police to publicly confirm he is no longer a suspect.

Philip Williams, from Valley Truckle, Camelford, North Cornwall, was arrested five days after the body of Joan Roddam was found in a field adjoining the garden of her bungalow home at West Downs, Delabole, on November 8, 2003.

He was questioned a number of times by detectives, arrested and then bailed.

But a week before he was due to attend the police station again, he received a letter from Devon and Cornwall Police saying he was no longer required to surrender to bail.

Mr Williams has not been interviewed since, and another man, aged 27 and from Delabole, was interviewed by police, but later released.

The trauma of being under suspicion, and because he could no longer concentrate, meant that he had to give up his mobile shop business.

"I worked night and day for years and had saved quite a lot of money, I had no financial worries," he said.

Now his marriage has collapsed and he lives in his cottage with his children – two boys and two girls aged from 14 to 25 – and works at the filling station he once dreamed of owning.

"I am worried that if something happens to me I will go to my grave known as the man who was under suspicion of murdering an elderly woman," he said.

"Joan was not just a customer, she was a friend. I would never harm anyone."

Mr Williams, who was the standard bearer for the Camelford Royal British Legion, has received support from many people in North Cornwall, including police officers and customers.

Churches in the Camelford area clubbed together to send him and his family to Disneyland in France because they could see the strain they were all under.

"I just want the police to confirm that I am no longer under suspicion," he added.

Mr Williams reported 74-year-old Mrs Roddam missing when he arrived to find the front door unlocked and nobody inside as he delivered groceries.

He searched the bungalow, and then telephoned others, including his wife, to help him, before calling the police to say he was worried about her safety as she was nowhere to be seen.

Police found her body three hours later in a field on the other side of her hedge with a wheelbarrow partly on top of her. She had been suffocated.

Descriptions were later released of four men and a woman were seen in the area near the time of Mrs Roddam's death.

A police spokesman said he was unable to comment on "individuals". He added: "The case is never closed and if we were in receipt of new information then it would be investigated."

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