Colchester pensioner stabbed by intruder in back garden

House in Colchester
Image caption Officers are still outside the house in Colchester where John Sales was stabbed

A pensioner was stabbed after coming face-to-face with an intruder in his back garden, said detectives.

The incident left 70-year-old John Sales with "life-changing injuries" when attacked in Hythe Hill, Colchester, at 17:40 GMT on Tuesday.

Police have been unable to establish a motive for the attack, but say the answer "lies within the community".

Mr Sales is at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, where he is in a stable condition having had surgery.

Police are appealing for information, and have asked businesses or individuals who have CCTV covering the area to contact them.

Essex Police's Acting Chief Supt Ewen Wilson said: "Mr Sales was at home, leaving his house, and he came across a man in his back garden.

"The man is tall, he's fairly thin and dressed unusually in camouflage trousers and a green top.

"And Mr Sales has described to us that this man has proceeded to attack him."

Image caption Police cordons remain in place in Hythe Hill

Asked by the BBC if they had established a motive for the attack, Acting Ch Supt Wilson said: "We're really concerned because we absolutely don't (have one) at the moment.

"This is an innocent, law-abiding, well thought of 70-year-old gentleman who's been attacked in his back garden, it doesn't get much more serious than this, so that's why we're really keen to work with the public," he said.

He said they were looking for "a discarded knife or perhaps blooded clothing" which might have been deposited in dustbins.

Essex Police's Detective Inspector Jim White said: "I firmly believe the answer to who carried out this horrendous attack lies within the Colchester community."

Officers are still guarding the front and the rear of the property.

More on this story