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Police in Cornwall launch manhunt as investigation into death of cyclist turns into murder inquiry

David Alderson initially thought to have been victim of cycling accident; police now seeking Kevin Cooper in connection with his death

Devon & Cornwall Police have launched a manhunt after their investigation into the death of a man initially thought to have been the victim of a cycling accident turned into a murder inquiry.

As we reported last week, the body of 72-year-old David Alderson from St Austell was found at the popular mountain biking spot of Wheal Maid near Carharrack at around 9am on the morning of Saturday 18 January.

At the time, reports indicated that Mr Alderson, a keen cyclist, was wearing cycling clothes, and police appealed for help in finding his bicycle.

This afternoon, however, Devon & Cornwall Police said they are treating the fact he was wearing cycling shoes when his body was found as a “red herring,” reports This Is The West Country.

The police force said that its Major Crime Investigation Team is “are urgently seeking to trace Kevin Cooper, 33, from Redruth, who is wanted in connection with Mr Alderson’s death,” which is now being treated as “suspicious.”

They describe Mr Cooper as “white, 6ft 3ins, with brown, straight, receding hair and blue eyes. He has a tattoo of a rose and the word ‘Nan’ on the right side of his neck and has two upper teeth missing.”

Anyone seeing Mr Cooper, who has been reported missing by his family, is asked not to approach him but instead to call police on 999.

Superintendent Jim Pearce, Local Policing Commander Area for West Cornwall, commented: “I want to reassure the public as best I can that, whilst we are advising people not to approach Mr Cooper, we have no reason to believe that there is any threat to the public in general.

“We have committed significant resources to finding Mr Cooper including increasing police patrols in areas he may be.”

Mr Cooper was seen in the Truro, Falmouth and St Austell areas on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, and is also believed to have been spotted in the Plymouth area yesterday.

Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan, Major Crime Investigation Team, added: “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.”

Anyone who has information that may help the police in their investigation is requested to call the Incident Room on 0800 056 0154, quoting reference 331 of 29 January 2014, or alternatively the charity, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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