BREAKING NEWS: Police launch national manhunt following Boston murder

Stephen Sleaford is wanted in connection with a murder.
Stephen Sleaford is wanted in connection with a murder.

A NATIONWIDE hunt is now under way to locate a Boston man suspected of murdering Janusz Smoderek.

Stephen Anthony Sleaford, 37, is now wanted by police for stabbing Polish national Mr Smoderek, a married man and father of three.

Wanted in connection with murder - Stephen Sleaford.

Wanted in connection with murder - Stephen Sleaford.

Airports around the UK are now on standby in case he tries to leave the country.

At a press briefing this morning (Wednesday), the investigation’s senior leading officer Det Chief Insp Stuart Gibbon said: “The main focus of our appeal is to locate Mr Sleaford who is wanted in connection with the murder of Janusz Smoderek.

“Mr Sleaford may still be in the local area or he may be further afield so we are issuing a witness appeal for anyone who has seen him or knows his whereabouts to contact us.”

“We would also wish to make a direct appeal to Mr Sleaford to hand himself in, and thirdly to reassure the community that we are looking for this man and have a number of detectives and police staff working around the clock.”

The jacket Stephen Sleaford is believed to have worn on the night of the murder.

The jacket Stephen Sleaford is believed to have worn on the night of the murder.

The hunt for Mr Sleaford has now gone national – with detectives working with colleagues in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and all UK airports alerted in case Mr Sleaford tries to flee the country.

Chief Insp Gibbon said: “I want to stress that he is wanted for a violent murder and is therefore not to be approached by members of the public. If anyone sees him we would urge them to call 999 right away.”

Mr Smoderek, 48, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in a garden in Sleaford Road at about 7.30am on Sunday.

Police have confirmed an altercation took place prior to Mr Smoderek’s death near the Sleaford Road railway crossing between 4am and 5am on Sunday.

The altercation involved three white men and one white woman.

The altercation is said to have involved ‘a lot of shouting and screaming’.

“One of the men was Mr Smoderek who died, and one was Mr Sleaford,” said Chief Insp Gibbon, “The identity of the third man is not known – but he is being sought as a potential suspect.

“The woman has been traced.”

Police have confirmed the armed police activity in Skirbeck Road yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon was part of the investigation – but was ‘unsuccessful’ in locating Mr Sleaford.

The weapon has also yet to be found.

Stephen Sleaford is described as heavily-tattooed on his arms and around his neck and sometimes wears glasses.

On the night of the murder, he was wearing a distinctive red and navy Fenchurch jacket.

The jacket is pictured on this page, along with photos of the suspect with and without his glasses.

Chief Insp Gibbon said the police were armed as a measure ‘to protect the public’.

Mr Smoderek lived in Revesby Avenue, Boston and worked in a packing factory. He has family in the area and in his native Poland.

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* Police are appealing for anyone with information about the whereabouts of Mr Sleaford, or any information about the altercation that took place in Sleaford Road on Sunday, to call Lincolnshire Police on 0300 111 0300 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.