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Couple quizzed in Ocean Village pensioner murder investigation
THIS is the couple detectives are questioning on suspicion of murdering pensioner Delia Hughes, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Tim Tritta and his girlfriend Crystal O’Dell were last night both being held in police custody in connection with the killing of the 85-year-old, who died from several blunt-force blows to her head.
Mr Tritta, 37, was arrested on Sunday morning when a team of police burst into the couple’s home on the floor above the onebedroom flat where Mrs Hughes lived alone.
They had gone to the property after becoming increasingly worried they hadn’t been able to make contact with her since last Thursday.
However, the murder hunt yesterday took a new twist when police swooped and arrested Miss O’Dell, who was staying with relatives in Harefield.
Less than two hours earlier Miss O’Dell, 29, had contacted the Daily Echo to protest her boyfriend’s innocence, saying he was simply not capable of murder.
In an interview she described the moment Mr Tritta was arrested.
She said: “It must have been about 11am when there was a knock at the door and about ten coppers just bundled their way in and said they were arresting him on suspicion of murder.
“They said they were taking me somewhere to find out about my whereabouts, it was an interview suite. When that was over on Sunday they told me I couldn’t go back to my flat as it was a crime scene.
“I needed my purse, nappies for my son and my tablets to help me sleep but they wouldn’t let me go back in.”
Miss O’Dell, who has a son with Mr Tritta and is expecting their second child, added: “He’s never been in trouble for violence. He’s not capable of doing something like that, it’s not in his nature. There is no motive for him to do it.
“Why would he do that anyway?
We’ve got a baby on the way. He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
However, just after 12.15pm yesterday Miss O’Dell herself was arrested on suspicion of murder and taken into custody to be interviewed by detectives.
Yesterday Detective Superintendent Tony Harris said it was “natural” at the outset of any major investigation “to identify people who perhaps we have concerns with”.
He was speaking in front of the murder scene as he made a fresh appeal to the public for help in solving the case.
Teams of police officers and PCSOs were in the area surrounding the property and spent yesterday searching bin stores and outbuildings as the hunt continued to recover a murder weapon and any other potential evidence such as clothing discarded by the killer.
Officers wearing protective face masks faced the task of painstakingly scouring through piles of rubbish, some of which had been there for up to a week in scorching temperatures.
Fingertip searches of grassland were also carried out while special equipment was brought in to search the drains in the local area.
Det Supt Harris was asked about what weapon might have been used to inflict the deadly blows to Mrs Hughes, a grandmother and great-grandmother. He said: “All we know is that it was a blunt instrument used with force,” adding that she had suffered a “significant” blow to the head.
Det Supt Harris said relatives of Mrs Hughes were now being supported by specially trained officers from Hampshire police.
He said: “They are coping as well as can be expected and receiving our complete support.
This is a tragic, tragic event which will undoubtedly take them a very long time to recover from.”
- Anyone with information should contacting the Major Investigation Team at Southampton Central police station on 101 or the Crimestoppers charity line anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting Operation Anglian.