THE answer to who killed Southampton pensioner Delia Hughes could lie in a small corner of Woolston .

Detectives are today turning their focus to a cluster of around 50 homes and several blocks of flats in the area to try to find a man they believe could hold vital information that could finally unravel the mystery.

As previously reported, police have made repeated appeals for help in tracing the hoodie-wearing man who has been captured on CCTV both entering and leaving Ocean Village on the morning Delia was killed.

But three weeks on from the day the 85-year-old was battered to death, he has still not come forward or been identified – and now his potential significance in the inquiry is starting to grow.

Today teams of officers will flood the area in Woolston, concentrating on homes within the triangle of Defender Road, Peartree Road and Bridge Road.

They will be knocking on doors and stopping local residents to see if they can shed any light on who the man is – and where he could be now.

We can reveal that the man, who is known to have walked from an area just off Bridge Road in Woolston, has been captured multiple times on CCTV cameras around Ocean Village where he appears to disappear from view for more than 40 minutes.

He can be seen briefly sitting near to car park barriers close to an office block and the ornamental ponds before moving on to the walkway looking out over the marina where he stops and sits on a bench.

Moments later he carries on, walking towards the eastern tip of Ocean Village where any route is most likely to have taken him past the pensioner’s ground floor flat on the corner of Atlantic Close and Ocean Way.

Detectives say the man may well have been in the immediate vicinity at a critical time – and what he saw or heard could help them piece together Delia’s final moments.

A team of officers from the |60-strong murder squad have spent several hundred hours recovering footage from cameras across the area in a bid to identify anyone of interest.

More than 100 items that could hold the killer’s DNA, footprints or fingerprints have also been sent to forensic labs where painstaking work is currently under way.

Detective Superintendent Tony Harris, leading the murder hunt, said: “With every day that passes, the fact that we have been unable to identify this man is of course becoming more of a concern.

“We believe he was in the area of Ocean Village at a very |critical time and he may have seen or heard something very significant.

“We now know that he has left the area off Bridge Road and returned to that area just over 90 minutes later. It is imperative we track him down and find out what he was doing in Ocean Village on Saturday, August 18. He may well hold |the key to what exactly happened inside Delia’s flat that morning.”

n DO you recognise the man or is it you? Contact the Operation Anglian murder squad in Southampton on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.