A polo-playing former public schoolboy has been identified as the man arrested by police in connection with the murders of three pensioners in Exeter.
Alexander Lewis-Ranwell is the 27-year-old police have been questioning over the murders of twins Dick and Roger Carter, 84, and Anthony Payne, 80, it was claimed today.
One of Lewis-Ranwell’s neigbours and family friends said that he was a keen polo player who attended the £30,000-a-year West Buckland boarding school.
The source said: ‘He was one of the nicest children you could ever meet. He is so polite and kind and was good at school.
‘He was brilliant at polo. He wanted to play so his dad bought him horses.’
Alexander Lewis Ranwell was named as the man arrested by police over the murders of three pensioners in Exeter
A source said police had been granted extra time to question Lewis-Ranwell who was ‘not talking’
One of his neighbours told the Sun that Lewis-Ranwell was an avid polo player and ex public schoolboy
It was also claimed he previously had a 64-year-old girlfriend, according to The Sun.
Earlier this week, chilling footage emerged showing the final moments of an 84-year-old Dick Carter buying his daily paper before he was found brutally slaughtered alongside his twin brother.
CCTV shows Dick Carter popping into his local newsagents in St Thomas, Exeter just 48 hours before his body was found in his home just 10 yards away.
Mr Carter would stop by Broadway Stores around 9am every morning to pick up the paper, before stopping to chat with staff.
Cops were yesterday granted an extra 36 hours to question the 27-year Lewis-Ranwell who was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of murder in connection with the deaths of Mr Carter, his brother Roger and Anthony Payne.
All three sustained serious head injuries, detectives confirmed this afternoon.
Mr Payne, 80, was found dead on Monday afternoon – less than 24 hours before the bodies of the elderly twin brothers were discovered at their house a mile away.
Officers believe the killings in Exeter are linked due to the ‘level of violence’ and in a further twist, revealed they had ‘specifically’ visited nine address in the area to ensure the occupants were safe.
CCTV shows Dick Carter popping into his local newsagents in St Thomas, Exeter just 48 hours before his badly injured body was found in his home
Mr Carter would stop by the shop around 9am every morning to pick up the paper, before stopping to chat with staff
Lewis-Ranwell was being questioned last night after three pensioners were found brutally slaughtered in their homes. Pictured: Officers scour the Carter twins’ house and garden
Members of Fire and Rescue erect a gazebo outside an address in Exeter today, where the body of a 80-year-old man was found
Mr Payne and twin victims Dick and Roger Carter, 84, were all reclusive bachelors.
Lewis-Ranwell remains in custody at Heavitree police station in Exeter.
During a hearing at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning, officers were granted a further 36 hours of detention.
He can be held for a total of 96 hours before he is released or charged.
Sources close to the investigation said the suspect was ‘volatile’, ‘not talking and refusing to leave his cell.’
Detectives said they were not ‘actively’ looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths, but locals were urged to check on elderly neighbours or relatives.
The ambulance service alerted police to Mr Payne’s body at his terrace house in Bonhay Road at about 3pm on Monday.
And at 1pm the following day, officers went to the Carter brothers’ detached home in Cowick Lane after their bodies had been found.
Police arrested the suspect hours later. It remains unclear when the men died.
Lianne Hill, who lives near the Carters, said her mother had seen a ‘scruffy looking man carrying a tool bag’ outside the elderly twins’ home just hours before their bodies were discovered.
The scene in Cowick Lane, Exeter today, where the bodies of twins Dick and Roger Carter, aged 84, were discovered Tuesday lunchtime
Residents have been leaving flowers at the house of the Carter brothers in Cowick lane, Exeter today
Detective Chief Inspector Roy Linden, deputy head of major crime, said today: ‘The investigations into these three incidents remain connected.
‘Due to the serious head injuries sustained by all three victims and the presentation of the properties and the age of the victims, we are treating this as a single multiple murder investigation.’
Last night it was claimed that an antiquated shotgun was found next to the body of Mr Payne.
Devon and Cornwall Police have declined to confirm or deny the reports, but have said the injuries sustained were not connected to the use of a firearm.
At a press conference, Superintendent Matt Lawler said there was nothing to indicate a threat to any other members of the public.
It was confirmed during the press conference that the first body, of Mr Payne, was found at 3pm on Monday, and that the next of kin have been informed.
The bodies of the Carter twins were found at 1pm the following day. Their next of kin have also been informed.
Police remain outside the home of the Carter brothers in Exeter this morning
It also emerged a note was left on Mr Payne’s front door, which read: ‘Elderly man 80 years of age wants accommodation for himself and his pet cat.’
Neighbours said the note, signed ‘AJ Payne’, had been there for a month and that the pensioner had not been seen in that time.
Speaking about Mr Payne, one local said: ‘He was very quiet and kept himself to himself. The note went up a few weeks ago, I suspect the owners had asked him to leave.
‘He was quiet but there would often be problems in the house. It wasn’t him causing problems but people who had access to the property.’
Lewis-Ranwell was arrested on suspicion of murder and police have been granted more time to question him
Police believe the killings in Exeter (pictured) are linked due to the similar ‘significant level of injuries’ – which may be consistent with the same weapon being used
This note was found on the front door of the property where an 80-year-old man was found dead
Mr Payne – found at 3pm on Monday – is believed to have lived at the address for 20 years. It is not clear whether he knew the Carter twins.
Teams of officers were seen yesterday scouring gardens surrounding both houses.
Meanwhile a witness said she saw a ‘scruffy-looking’ man carrying a tool bag outside the twins’ home hours before they were found dead at 1pm on Tuesday.
Tracey Harkness, who lives nearby, was driving to work at 9.30am that morning when she saw him. She said he was ‘looking a bit funny’ and later reported it to the police.
Last night a relative of the Carters, who part-owns their £750,000 house, told of his shock. He revealed the victims were estranged from their family, saying: ‘They were so secluded. They just wanted to be left alone.’
The brothers ran a mushroom business from the early 1990s until 2004, and they also had greengrocers in Exeter.
They retired several years ago and, apart from trips to the supermarket, were rarely seen together outside their large detached home, which had paper and cardboard up at some of the windows.
One tribute left at the scene reads: ‘To Dick and Roger. Will miss your conversations and drives to Sainsbury’s. RIP. Doris and Fred.’
Last night neighbours told of their shock. One said: ‘We think they were born there. They had a boxer dog called Odin. We are shattered. They kept themselves to themselves – we never saw them together at the same time.’
Another neighbour, Sarah Johnson, said: ‘They were really lovely gentlemen. One of them was rather more able-bodied than the other and I used to see him shuffling along to Sainsbury’s. I think he went there every day.’
Retired butcher George Waller, 83, said the twins were well known locally when they ran their shop. ‘The more able of the brothers used to wait with me at the bus stop,’ he said. ‘He was always polite.’
Devon and Cornwall Police would not reveal where the suspect was arrested, but said they were not ‘actively’ looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths. They urged anyone in the area between 8am on Sunday and 1pm on Tuesday to get in touch.
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