A MURDER investigation has been launched into the death of a retired driving instructor from Falmouth whose body was found at a disused mine near Redruth.
Police are hunting 33-year-old Redruth man Kevin Cooper, who was seen with David Alderson, aged 72, in his car the night before his body was found.
Mr Cooper, who has been reported missing by his family, is described as white, 6ft 3, with brown, receding, straight hair and two upper teeth missing. He also has a tattoo of a rose with the word Nan on his neck.
He has been seen in the Falmouth, Redruth and St Austell areas, and was last seen in Plymouth in the early hours of yesterday morning.
At a press conference today, superintendent Jim Pearce, west Cornwall local policing area commander, said: “I am advising members of the public not to approach him.
“But we have absolutely no reason to believe that there is any threat to the public in general.”
Mr Alderson's body was found floating in a pond by a dog walker at the Wheal Maid mineworks near Carharrack shortly after 9am on Saturday, January 18.
Detective superintendent Paul Burgan, from the major crime investigation team, told the press conference: “The main issue now is that we believe Mr Alderson was in his vehicle with Kevin Cooper the night before his body was recovered and that has changed the investigation. We believe they knew each other.”
“We also want to trace the last movements of Mr Alderson and are keen to speak to anyone who saw him in the days before his death.
“We now know that Mr Alderson left his home address of 61 Old Hill, Falmouth, in his red Ford Fiesta Freestyle, registration RV51MZZ, sometime in the early evening on Friday 17 January.
“I am anxious to speak to anyone who saw this vehicle or any of its occupants that evening.
“We believe this vehicle was in the Carharrack area, near to Wheal Maid, on Friday evening and returned to Falmouth later that night, where it was left in North Parade.”
Although Mr Alderson was dressed in cycling clothes when his body was found, Mr Burgan said: “We now don’t believe he was on a bike and he was in the vehicle the night before. It may well be that it was theft related but we cannot rule out any motive.”
Police initially believed the Falmouth man’s “significant” head injuries were consistent with a fall, but are now treating the death as suspicious.
Mr Alderson was found wearing cycling clothes, but no bike was found at the scene. Today police said the bike was a “red herring”.
Anyone with information should call the incident hotline 0800 056 0154 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 with any information to his whereabouts.