Why was an ordinary man tortured, murdered and mutilated?
That question has haunted Alan Wood’s family, friends and Lincolnshire Police ever since the 50-year-old was found dead in a pool of blood at his home in the tiny hamlet of Lound, near Bourne, on October 24, 2009.
It was the most violent murder that seasoned police officers have ever witnessed in Lincolnshire and, even more shockingly, it was coupled with a post-death attempt to cut off Alan’s head.
His killers have never been found but there’s a fresh glimmer of hope as the story of Alan’s terrifying final hours – including the sickening slash to the throat that saw him bleed to death – will be told in a documentary to be shown on CBS Reality in September or October.
Police believe Alan may have been tortured – repeatedly stabbed in the head – by assailants who wanted PIN numbers for his bank cards. A key murder suspect was caught on CCTV in Bourne and Stamford when Alan’s cash was withdrawn.
One of Alan’s friends, Ella Jenkins, believes his assailants mistook him for a wealthy man because he drove a Jaguar and says – especially if they were foreign – they may not have understood the number plate meant the car was quite old.
“It was his pride and joy and it looked fabulous,” said Ella. “It was probably worth £500.”
Ella says Alan’s murderers got only “about £250” using his bank cards, but believes they were after something more.
She says Alan was almost the double of one of the managers at Sainsbury’s in Bourne and worked there “almost full-time” after scaling down his small gardening business to look after about four clients.
“My gut feeling is that they thought he had money or they thought he had the keys to the store,” she said.
Ella saw Alan’s living double Sainsbury’s colleague at the funeral service.
She said: “He was the same build, the same colouring – it was kind of at first glance it was Alan, but he didn’t have glasses.”
Police see the new documentary as offering fresh hope that Alan’s killers will be found, but Ella says the chances of solving the case have “well and truly passed”.
Police didn’t reveal the full horror of Alan’s violent death until eight months after his murder and Ella says that was too late to get the headlines and national TV coverage that would have grabbed people’s attention and perhaps helped witnesses recall sightings of his killers.
Ella said Alan had been her “good buddy” for 10 years and her partner, Paul Devereux, was very close to him and the last person to see him alive.
She said: “We were almost the first people interviewed (by police) on the Sunday morning. We weren’t even told that he was murdered. We were told it was a sudden death. For four days we thought it was a heart attack. We didn’t actually know he was murdered until someone in the family told us.
“I can, hand on heart, swear on my mother’s life that he didn’t know anyone dodgy – or, if they were dodgy, he didn’t know they were dodgy. He was such a nice bloke.
“From what I can gather they (his killers) knocked on the door and he opened the door, but I have a horrible, sneaking suspicion that there was someone with them that he kind of knew.
“He wasn’t stupid. He would not just have opened the door – I think there was someone local, perhaps not a friend but an acquaintance.”
Following Alan’s murder, his family and friends created a memorial garden at his local, The Willoughby Arms, in Little Bytham, the place where he was last seen alive on October 21, 2009.
Friends gather there on the anniversary, leaving Alan’s favourite tipple and a bag of Mini Cheddars on the bar.
The garden includes a sundial inscribed with ‘sadly missed by all his friends and family, I’m going after this one ...’ referring to words Alan often used before leaving the pub.
Police, Alan’s friends – including Ella – and news reporters who have covered the case have been interviewed for the documentary film that will have a worldwide audience.
Film producer Charlotte Blennerhassett said: “It is one of the most brutal murders that I have ever come across.”