A British police team is heading to South Africa in a bid to trace relatives and friends of a local man wanted for the alleged murder of his gay friend in Britain.
A £5 000 (R70 000) reward is also being offered for any information leading to the arrest of Ricardo Pisano, who police say is a man of many guises, and who is also known as Brandon Victor Pillay, Ricky and Ree.
Pisano, who has been on the run from New Zealand police for 11 years, is wanted for the murder of Michael Polding, 62, in Brighton, Sussex.
Sussex police said they believed Pisano had family in South Africa and confirmed they would be coming to the country, at a date to be confirmed, to conduct further investigations.
Pisano has not been placed on Interpol’s red alert list for wanted criminals.
Polding was discovered in his St George’s Road flat on July 16 with multiple injuries. Police believe he may have been dead since May.
Pisano and Polding had known each other for four years, police said.
This week, Sussex police launched a website to track Pisano.
Sussex police spokeswoman Emily Bridges said the website – www.brandonvictorpillay.com – was created to assist in gathering information from the public regarding his whereabouts.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick May of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team is leading the investigation, known as Operation Journal.
May said: “It has been nearly five months since Michael’s body was found, but our investigation into his death continues. We are determined to get justice.”
He appealed to the public, locally and internationally, to look at the website.
“We would also like to hear from anyone who has had contact with him in the past. Any information, no matter how small you think it may be, could be the vital piece in the jigsaw to trace Ricky’s whereabouts.”
The last positive sighting of Pisano was in the Marlands shopping centre in Southampton at the end of July.
May said they believed Pisano was the last person to see Polding alive.
“Ricky described himself as Michael’s carer even though he (Michael) did not need one.”
He described him as aged about 35, about 1.7 metres tall and of slim build. He may have grown a beard or disguised himself in other ways, May said.
On August 10, 2001, Pisano escaped from Rangipo Prison in Waikato, New Zealand. He was serving a 15-month sentence for extortion. He fled to the UK.
According to the website, Polding had met Pisano several years after the death of his partner, Henry, in 2001.
Polding sold his flat in London and moved to Brighton with Pisano last year.
Anyone with information about Pisano’s whereabouts is urged to contact Sussex police at 0044 1273 470101 or to leave a message for Operation Journal at email@example.com