Murder squad detectives were last night trying to establish the motive for an horrific gangland-style double killing in Bradford.
Officers are still trying to identify the two men, who had been savagely attacked, and whose bodies were found at the side of an isolated country lane.
Police suspect the murder victims, who are believed to be Asian, had been attacked elsewhere and their corpses dumped beside New Lane, outside Tong village south of Bradford.
The bodies were spotted by a passing motorist at about 10.20pm on Tuesday. They were lying at the side of the road and no attempt had been made to conceal them.
The grim discovery was made only half a mile from the scene of a gangland execution nine years ago, when drug dealer Philip Smith was shot dead in a lay by, off Tong Lane, though there is no suggested link between the incidents.
The murder victims had suffered horrific injuries. At least one of the men is thought to have been badly beaten. It is thought weapons were used in the attack. Police, however, have denied rumours that the men’s bodies had been chopped up.
Post-mortem examinations were taking place late yesterday to establish the exact cause of the men’s deaths.
Detective Superintendent Dick Nuttall, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, who is leading the murder investigation, said yesterday: “At this stage we have not recovered any weapons. However, forensic officers are examining the scene.”
He added: “We are also examining the possibility that these bodies were left on New Lane following an attack elsewhere.” The grim discovery was made near to the junction with Raikes Lane. Police cordoned off New Lane, between Holme Lane and Tong Lane, 200 metres either side of the murder scene, while a detailed forensic examination was carried out.
A police van and car guarded the entrance to New Lane from Tong Lane, a few hundred yards from where the bodies were found, in open countryside of green meadows and pockets of woodland.
The victims are aged between their mid-20s and 30.
Det Supt Nuttall said inquiries were at an early stage.
“Officers are working to establish the identities of these men and the circumstances leading to their discovery.”
He added: “We are looking at the possibility that this isn’t a random attack. These men may have been brought here after an attack elsewhere.”
But he said it was too early to speculate on whether the deaths were gang-related. He said it was also difficult to speculate on the dead men’s country of origin.
Det Supt Nuttall added: “Inquiries are focused on identifying the two men and establishing the circumstances in which they came to be found.”
He said he was particularly interested to hear from anyone who was in the area of New Lane or Raikes Lane at the time, or saw anything suspicious, to come forward immediately.
He said: “This is a rural and quiet area of Bradford and people might have noticed any unusual activity, especially at this time of night.”
Det Supt Nuttall said local Neighbourhood Policing Team officers were patrolling the area to offer reassurance and speak to residents about concerns.
He added: “An incident like this is very rare in West Yorkshire. It is too early to speculate on what this is about. We have no motive at the moment. At the moment we have no clues as to who the victims are. A significant amount of work needs to be done on the case.”
Justyna Liberda, who lives at nearby Raikes Avenue, said: “I have lived here for four years and nothing bad has happened. I think it’s nice round here and I am shocked about this.”
Another neighbour said: “It’s disgusting. My two boys play out and they sometimes go down those lanes. It’s a nice area down there. We don’t know the circumstances but it makes you scared, not knowing what’s happened. I’m scared for my children.”
Any witnesses, or anyone with any information, is asked to contact the incident room on (01924) 334693.
- Read the full story in Thursday's T&A