Wheal Maid death cyclist David Alderson 'was murdered'

Kevin Cooper Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Police say suspect Kevin Cooper should not be approached

A 72-year-old cyclist whose body was found in a disused Cornish copper mine was murdered, police believe.

When David Alderson was found at Wheal Maid, near Carharrack, earlier this month, Devon and Cornwall Police initially thought the Falmouth man had fallen accidentally.

They have now begun a murder inquiry and say they are looking for 33-year-old Kevin Cooper from Redruth.

Mr Alderson's body was discovered at the mine by a dog walker on 18 January.

Rose tattoo

Mr Cooper, who was reported as missing by his family, is described as 6ft 3in (1.9m) tall, with straight brown receding hair and blue eyes.

He has a tattoo of a rose and the word "Nan" on the right side of his neck and two of his upper teeth are missing.

Police say members of the public should not approach him.

Supt Jim Pearce said: "I want to reassure the public as best I can that, whilst we are advising people not to approach Mr Cooper, we have no reason to believe that there is any threat to the public in general.

"We have committed significant resources to finding Mr Cooper including increasing police patrols in areas he may be."

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Keen cyclist David Alderson was wearing cycling gear when his body was found

Det Supt Paul Burgan said police want to trace Mr Alderson's last movements and are keen to speak to anyone who saw him in the days before his death.

"We now know that Mr Alderson left his home address of Old Hill, Falmouth, in his red Ford Fiesta Freestyle, sometime in the early evening on Friday 17 January," he said.

Officers are studying CCTV footage of what appears to be two occupants in Mr Alderson's car in Falmouth on the Friday evening.

The area around the mine, which closed in the 19th Century, is popular with mountain bikers and although Mr Alderson was wearing cycling gear, police were unable to find his bike.

His car was later found near his home.

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