POLICE are warning people not to walk home alone late at night after a 60-year-old man was found stabbed to death in an underpass known as mugger’s alley.
The man was found with multiple stab wounds at midnight on Thursday in the underpass on the path between Station Road and Hawksworth Industrial Estate.
Police say it was a random and motiveless attack and are warning walkers to be on their guard.
Swindon Superintendent Andrew Carr said: “We would advise everyone to take their personal safety very seriously and to avoid walking alone late at night whenever possible.
“Consider carrying a personal alarm and make sure your mobile phone is always charged.”
An area from the skate park behind Oasis Leisure Centre and the Western Flyer underpass, including nearby woods, has been locked down as more than 60 officers, including specialists from the Brunel Major Crime Investigation Team, continue their operation.
The body was removed around 10.30am yesterday ahead of a post-mortem examination.
While no formal identification has been made, police believe they know the man and are urgently seeking next of kin.
There is no obvious motive for the attack, no suspect, and no murder weapon has been recovered.
Neighbourhood police are stepping up patrols, and officers are urging the public to take caution walking alone late at night.
DCI Sean Memory, who is leading the investigation, said: “Shortly before midnight a man has been found deceased next to a path running between Rodbourne and the railway station.
“He was found 100 metres away from the railway station with multiple stab wounds across his whole body. We are yet to recover any weapons in relation to this investigation.
“We believe the man is around 60 years old and lives locally. We will remain at the scene for a significant amount of time and a large number of staff are involved from the Major Crime Team.
“There is no motive apparent, and this is an extremely vicious attack that has taken place.
“We are exploring a number of enquiries. There is a possibility the offender could have blood on their clothes, and their behaviour last night could have changed somewhat after what happened.”
A member of the public found the body lying on an embankment by the side of the path before contacting police. A bicycle was found nearby with the lights still on.
“We believe the victim had been cycling because a pedal cycle was found near to the body,” added DCI Memory.
“He was found around midnight, and while there is no indication of how long the body had been there, the lights were on on the bike, which could give a clue as to when it happened.
“There are certainly no suspects at this time, and it appears to be a complete stranger attack. We believe that at this time because we have no motive at all, and as the investigation progresses we hope to narrow it down. The man was found under the railway line in the right hand side on the grass. He was found on the embankment, but was not concealed from view.
“Our biggest appeal is there is someone out there who knows what has happened, and we need to speak to that person. There is a dangerous individual out in the community who seems to have carried out a random attack.”
DCI Rich Kelvey, head of the Brunel Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “We are bringing resources from other parts of the area, including Avon and Somerset, to make sure we put the right resources in place.
“There is in excess of 60 staff in place and a number of resources in Wiltshire are being very flexible to help progress the investigation.”
Supt Carr added: “Local officers are working with the major crime team to provide support in any way. We have extra police patrols in the area and communities will see an increase in our presence.
“The area will be closed off for some time, and we would like to apologise for any incovenience.
“The area that has been closed off is relatively large because we have not yet got the full picture of what exactly has gone on here.
“CCTV is being looked at and we need to explore every avenue.”
Businesses nearby were open as usual yesterday. Oasis manager Owen Williams said: “The skate park at the back is out of bounds, but the centre is operating as normal. Our staff are all aware something has happened.
“We have asked police if there is anything we need to do, and are happy to do anything we need. It is horrible this has happened, and there are clearly investigations ongoing for a while.”
Police are asking anyone who was near the underpass between 10.30pm on Thursday and 12.30pm yesterday, or may have seen any suspicious activity in the area, to call 101.