POLICE have called for calm over crime levels in Wisbech after two murder investigations were launched in an alarming week for the town.

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Detectives are hunting the killer of 86-year-old widow Una Crown, who was found dead in her bungalow in Magazine Lane last Sunday. She had been stabbed in the neck and set on fire, in an apparent attempt to disguise her injuries and destroy evidence.

In a separate incident, Virginja Jurkiene, 49, was found dead at the Hare & Hounds hotel, in North Brink, on Saturday. Dainotas Doblys, 48, of no fixed abode, appeared before magistrates charged with her murder, and two counts of rape, yesterday.

But, as work begins to reassure an unsettled community, police have insisted that crime levels are DOWN in Wisbech and Fenland.

Fenland Inspector Robin Sissons said: “To have one murder is rare but to have two so close together is unbelievable. My only comfort is that they are not related.

“I have been asked if police officer levels are to blame. It is my view that they are not. I do not think that the latest one at the Hare & Hounds could have been avoided.

“We had additional officers in the area due to the Magazine Lane incident and they were all out engaging with the community.”

Det Insp Dave Murphy said that, so far, there had been 41 less crimes in Fenland compared to January last year. Violent offences, shoplifting, commercial burglaries and vehicle crime were all down on 2012’s figures.

Det Insp Murphy said: “We are also making significant progress with the UK Border Agency and Fenland District Council in deporting street drinkers. A huge amount of work and improvement remains but we remain committed to this.

“I appreciate the two murder investigations will grab the headlines, and they remain our number one priority, however we have seen some significant reduction in crime levels in Fenland over the last year - including Wisbech.”

Det Insp Murphy also praised police for completing two burglary arrests over the weekend.

A 33-year-old man was charged with a burglary at Cox Close, Wisbech, while a 22-year-old man was charged with attempted burglary after being forensically linked to an incident in Church End, Leverington. Both were remanded in custody when they appeared before magistrates.

Insp Sissons said his officers would continue to “work around the clock” to help detectives bring Mrs Crown’s killer to justice.

“The murder of Una Crown has affected many of my officers,” he said. “We all have elderly loved ones that we can relate to.

“It is for this reason that we will continue to work hard on trying to find the person responsible.

“However, whilst we will use all our forensic and investigative skills - it is the community that holds the answer. Someone somewhere knows that vital bit of information that will lead us to the person responsible.

“It just needs them to come forward.”

• Anyone with information should call the Major Crime Unit on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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