A knifeman is on the run after a 51-year-old man was stabbed to death on board a train to London in front of his teenage son.
Fresh details of the fatal attack, which took place on the 12.58 service from Guildford to Waterloo, have been released by detectives this evening as the manhunt for the killer continues.
Police said the 51-year-old victim, who has not been named, boarded the train with his 14-year-old son who would have been nearby when his father received ‘multiple stab wounds’ to his body in a ‘horrific’ attack.
The suspect, who police think was not known to the victim, is described as a black man in his twenties to thirties, is approximately 6ft tall, with a slim build and beard, dressed all in black with white trainers.
Police have warned members of the public not to approach the knifeman, who is believe to have got off at Clandon, and to immediately contact emergency services.
Earlier shocked witnesses said the man was knifed following a scuffle with another passenger who then fled into the surrounding Clandon area – just one stop into the Surrey to London journey.
One woman passenger, who asked not to be named, said: ‘There was a lot of blood everywhere in the carriage. I don’t think the poor chap stood a chance.
‘The police who were here first started to give him CPR but it was apparently too late to save him and he died while the train was in the station.’
Other passengers said how the ticket inspector and driver leaped into action to desperately try and save the man before emergency services arrived.
British Transport Police Superintendent Paul Langley said in a statement: ‘Tragically as a result of this stabbing, a man believed to be 51-years-old, was pronounced dead on board the train.
‘Early indications suggest he received multiple stab wounds to his body.
‘What we know at the moment is that the victim boarded the train at around 1.00pm at London Road station in Guildford, along with his 14-year-old son.
‘Traumatically, the victims son would have been nearby when his father was fatally wounded. This would have been an horrific and hugely traumatic event to have witnessed and we are providing him with as much support as possible.’
Forensic teams have been searching a field in Clandon after a local resident found a bloodied hat on the ground and said she confronted a ‘ sweaty nervous man’ .
Officers with tracker dogs were also seen in the field.
Three uniformed officers stood guard by a wooden gate adjacent to the property less than a quarter of a mile from Clandon station.
Mother Rowena Dodwell posted a message on a local neighbourhood watch site to describe her confrontation with possibly the murder suspect.
She wrote:” Please be vigilant as I just came across a mid 20’s, slim build, black beard, bald suspicious man wearing a black track suit walking around our neighbouring field, very sweaty and nervous.
‘He walk to the bottom then stood in the woodland, walk back up. I asked him what he was doing and he said he had an accident?
‘Our road is private and so is the field. He walked off on the phone and didn’t want to chat. There was no reason for him to be there!
‘Called police as he’s dropped a blooded hat in field.’
Police are now in the area, attempting to identify and trace the man responsible for this assault.
Supt Langley added: ‘We also know that the suspect left the train service at Clandon station, and headed in the direction of Dedswell Drive.
‘There have been a number of sightings in this areas from members of the public and our enquiries are focussing in on these areas.
‘We have a number of officers in the area working hard to trace the man responsible for this violent and deadly attack.
‘We are working close with Surrey Police and the National Police Air Service who are helping us to locate him.’
Matt Phelps, 35, who works at a business in West Clandon, said police officers provided a description of the man they were hunting – a man with a beard and short hair, who was ‘not dressed for the weather’ in a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms, and strikingly bright white trainers.
He said: ‘There were also three helicopters circling overhead when we locked up and went home.
‘It was a bit alarming when someone I worked with put two and two together and we realised who the police were looking for.
‘You sometimes see the police helicopter going over or cars going past with sirens on but to think there was someone like that potentially hiding around the corner somewhere certainly made us want to pack up and go home quicker than usual.’
Officers have sealed off the Clandon area as the manhunt for the killer continued this evening.
Dozens of commuters cars were stranded in the car park at the Surrey station with owners told they would have to remain parked until forensic teams had completed their investigation.
Earlier a police helicopter had hovered over the surrounding countryside as it scoured farmland and nearby National Trust property of Clandon Park.
The killer would have had a choice of walking either towards the village of Send or towards East Clandon on leaving the station.
Drinkers at the Onslow Arms, about a quarter of a mile from the Clandon station, said they heard the helicopter hovering overhead during the afternoon.
‘There were lot of police cars racing along the road and word soon went round someone had been stabbed, said one of the pub regulars.
‘There’s hardly any serious crime round here so everyone took notice’
No arrests have been made yet and it is not known if the two men were known to one another.
Another witness praised the efforts of the railway staff in the frenzied aftermath of the attack.
Natalie Jones tweeted: ‘I was on this train. How those guards and especially the train driver went into action was nothing short of incredible.’
Oliver Thompson, a 16-year-old student living in Clandon, said he was stopped by police in the area at roughly 2.30pm and asked if he had seen a ‘man running from the station’.
A little later he saw police helicopters circling the area before being joined by ‘a police van with high-powered lights’ as conditions darkened.
‘It comes as a big surprise as Clandon is a quiet area that you wouldn’t associate with crime like this,’ he said.
‘It is definitely unnerving to think there is a murderer maybe somewhere in the village.’
A Home Office pathologist was expected to carry out a post mortem examination on the man’s body to establish the exact cause of his death and the Surrey coroner was notified of the death.
Detective Superintendent Gary Richardson from British Transport Police, said: ‘This was a shocking and violent attack which took place on-board a train in broad daylight.
‘Officers from BTP are with the family and have deployed a specially trained family liaison officer to support them through this difficult time.
‘We know that this was an incredibly frightening incident for passengers travelling on the train.
‘We believe that the suspect and victim boarded the train at London Road at 1.01pm and we would encourage who was on this train to come forward regardless of whether or not they think they can help our investigation.
‘We believe the suspect departed the train at Clandon station.
‘Passengers and members of the public can expect to see an increased presence by BTP and Surrey Police officers at Horsley and Clandon as our enquiries continue.
‘We would advise anyone in the local area who sees anyone they think maybe the suspect to contact 999 immediately.’
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling tweeted: ‘The incident near Horsley is tragic, and our deepest sympathies are with the victim and their family. I urge anyone who witnessed what happened to contact @BTP and @SurreyPolice, by texting 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40.’
Anyone who witnessed the incident or with any information should contact BTP by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 – quoting reference 210 of 04/01/19. Or you can ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
South Western Railway said: ‘Due to the police dealing with an incident between Guildford and Effingham Junction the line is blocked.
‘Train services running through these stations may be cancelled, delayed or revised. Disruption is expected until 9pm.’
Lines will remain closed while police conduct their investigations, they added.
Rail replacement buses are being provided and train tickets are being accepted on Southern Railway services between Dorking and Clapham Junction and some Stagecoach bus services.