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Peter Wrighton murder: Ex-soldier found guilty

Peter Wrighton murder: Ex-soldier found guilty

Peter Wrighton's body was found near Fiveways Junction, three miles south of East Harling in Norfolk
A former soldier has been found guilty of murdering an 83-year-old dog walker who suffered 45 knife wounds.Alexander Palmer, 24, attacked Mr Wrighton from behind with a knife before dragging his body under brambles in woodland in Norfolk in August 2017.At Nottingham Crown Court, he had admitted being in the area at the time of the attack but denied murder.Palmer, of Cringleford, will be sentenced on Thursday so Mr Wrighton's widow can attend.
The jury took 49 minutes to convict Alexander Palmer
Mr Justice Goose said: "The widow of the deceased followed proceedings yesterday and may wish to witness the sentence tomorrow. She should be given this opportunity.
"It is inevitable the defendant will receive a sentence of life imprisonment - it will be up to me as to the minimum term he will have to serve."Palmer mouthed the words "I love you" to his family as the judge sent him down to the cells.
'Kill strangers'
He showed no emotion as the jury delivered its verdict after 49 minutes of deliberations.During the trial the court heard police were initially unaware of Palmer and concluded the victim had been attacked and killed near East Harling on 5 August by some sort of animal, due to his throat injuries. But a psychologist who had treated Palmer at RAF Marham read press reports of the case.She contacted the force telling them she thought he could be responsible for the death.
Peter Wrighton's body was discovered on the edge of the heath by walkers
Prosecutor Stephen Spence said Palmer told medical professionals a voice in his head called "Little Alex" instructed him to harm people or kill them.Palmer was injured as a victim of an assault while serving in the Army, where he served in a commando regiment, the prosecution said. He left in November 2015. The incident appeared to trigger problems which required mental health treatment, Mr Spence said.He said Palmer had told hospital staff: "I will plan out the method in my head, go to the desired place where I wish the scene to be set and then I will carry out the act of hurting someone."It could be anyone that it happens to."Mr Spence said: "Particularly of note was his desire to kill strangers - dog walkers seemed to be a particular bugbear of his."The court heard forensic samples from Palmer were discovered on a trouser leg belonging to Mr Wrighton.Referring to the samples, Mr Spence said the DNA evidence would have involved touching. "Neither of these two people were known to each other," he said, and any idea that DNA was transferred via Mr Wrighton's dogs was "simply fanciful".After serving in the Army, Palmer was employed by Envigo in February 2017 as a trainee pathology laboratory services technician. Envigo provides products and research services for pharmaceutical, crop protection and chemical companies.
East Harling
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