Police hunting the killer of Michael Polding are to travel to South Africa to try to catch him.

Major crime detectives from Sussex Police investigating the murder of the 63-year-old in Brighton plan to travel to Ricardo Pisano’s homeland.

A police spokeswoman said officers were likely to investigate the background of Pisano – a prison escapee and convicted extortionist dubbed “The Artful Dodger” in the South African press – to look for clues to where he could be.

Disappearance Detectives vowed to continue looking until they had tracked down Pisano.

Pisano, also known as Ricky, Ree and Brandon Victor Pillay, has previously been named as the only suspect in the case.

But officers, who are being led by Detective Chief Inspector Nick May, are baffled by his disappearance.

Flee abroad

Yesterday (December 17) they admitted that Pisano – who told people he was Mr Polding’s carer even though the 63-year-old did not need one – is likely to have fled the country.

He has links across the UK and New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. He adopts different looks and accents and is probably aged in his 30s.

Pisano and Mr Polding were partners and lived together in St George’s Road, Kemp Town.

But Pisano, who escaped jail in New Zealand in 2001, vanished after Mr Polding’s body was found in July.

In a statement, Mr Polding’s sisters said: “We miss our brother terribly. He was a good man and despite living at the other end of the country, would always keep in contact with us.

“It’s very difficult for us not to know how Michael died.”

Appeal website

A new website, only the second of its kind in the UK, was set up yesterday where people can contact police with information about Pisano’s whereabouts.

Photographs were also released of the inside of the flat Pisano and Mr Polding shared.

One picture shows a pile of ironing and a poster of Hollywood A-lister George Clooney on the wall.

Yesterday police confirmed they were working with other agencies.

They said: “We are liaising closely with other UK police forces and also with law enforcement partners in other countries.

“Detectives working on Operation Journal will continue to seek justice for Michael and his family and friends.”

Visit the website at www.michaelpoldingmurder.com.


Monday, July 16:

Sussex Police receive an email from Michael Polding’s sister in Scotland concerned that the family had not heard from him for around two months. Officers attend Mr Polding's flat and find him dead. He had not been seen or heard from for around two months and post was piled up at his door. At this stage his death is treated as unexplained and a post-mortem is arranged.

Saturday, July 21

A post mortem is carried out and a number of injuries are found which suggest that Mr Polding’s death was not natural. DCI Nick May launches a murder investigation.

Sunday, July 22:

A 28-year-old man from London is arrested on suspicion of murder and questioned but later released without charge. Detectives become aware of a second suspect, who was living with Mr Polding. They only knew him as Ree. Officers establish that Ree is known by various different names such as Ricardo Pisano, Ricky and Brandon Victor Pillay.

Saturday, July 28:

Pisano seen on CCTV in the Marlands shopping centre in Southampton. This is the last positive sighting of him.

Wednesday, August 15:

Police officially name Pisano as their number one suspect.

Tuesday, September 25:
A £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Pisano is issued.

Monday, December 17:

Website launched to help with the hunt.

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