Community awaits post mortem on man in his 80s following arrest of two teenage girls on suspicion of murder
PUBLISHED: 18:17 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:33 02 October 2019
The death of a man in his 80s and the arrest of two teenage girls on suspicion of murder continue to instil shock and anguish on the Waterlees estate in Wisbech.
A post mortem into the death of Pat Morran is to take place tomorrow (Wed) and for now the community holds it breath awaiting confirmation of how he died.
"There's an almighty sense not simply of shock but of the realisation that everyone knows everyone on this estate," said one community leader.
Mr Morran was widowed in recent years but still lived in the 1950s home on the corner of Acacia Avenue and Edinburgh Drive, the home where he and his wife Pat (she died three years ago) brought up their three children. At least one of his sons lives nearby and, said the community leader, have children of their own.
"I've lived here for over 25 years and in some ways still feel very much a newcomer," she said. "The repercussions of what happened will have affected so many people."
Waterlees is a community within the larger community of Wisbech and retains a village like atmosphere. Families that were born there as the estate grew in the 1950s have not left, their own children in turn moving into neighbouring streets.
Waterlees is not without its issues - a recent report confirmed the extent of poverty and rural deprivation that successive county and district council initiatives have failed to stem. Waterlees, said the report, is where more than a third of children are classified as living in poverty. The population of the estate is some 5,000 - and there are an estimated 1,500 children who live there.
It has an active community centre - the Oasis which has outgrown its current size and hopes to expand- and a playground built at a cost of £1 million more than a decade ago.
It is also the playground that famously drew national headlines when a police inspector told Wisbech town council some years back that he wouldn't send officers into the park after 8pm on health and safety grounds.
"I am not going to put my staff - police officers or PCSOs - into an area where they can't see what is going on," he announced to surprised town councillors. Lobbying to curtail anti social behaviour has been a dominant feature in the years since and Cambridgeshire police and crime commissioner had already booked a public meeting on the estate for later this month before news broke of Mr Morran's death.
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The woman who first tipped me off about the death on Sunday morning described her knowledge of the incident - that cannot be shared at this stage - but knew the person who gave mouth to mouth resuscitation to the victim.
"Unfortunately it was unsuccessful," she said. "People I know heard a noise and as their son had just gone out to play they went into the house with another resident as the door was still open."
Today police remained outside the home, it is taped off, and more flowers have been left in tribute.
"What I think must, in fact will, happen now is that people will support each other," said the community leader. "It's not a cliché to say that either. "It is terrible, indeed shocking what has happened and very sad. It is important we support each other - and that includes support to all of those involved, especially the family of Mr Morran and to others, too, such as the man who tried to resuscitate him before paramedics could arrive."
For now Cambridgeshire Police are obliged to cloak details of the incident behind a legal barrier, although residents have confirmed to me a hammer was discovered in bushes shortly after Mr Morran was found unconscious.
A police spokesman said: "Three girls aged 12, 14 and 16 and a 20-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident. Two girls aged 14 and 16 have been bailed until October 25.
"The other 12-year-old girl and the man have been released with no further action."
Former district councillor, Virginia Bucknor, has lived on Waterlees for over 30 years and looks after the community's Facebook group. She's adamant that the law must take it course and in the proper way.
"Local residents know the details but it's vital no Facebook details are made," she posted.
"This awful tragedy will affect many families in the area."