A CONVICTED rapist is thought to have been murdered — despite no body being found.
Alan Lee Street, 26, from Oswaldtwistle, has been missing since Friday and police are growing increasingly concerned for his safety after blood-soaked clothing was found at a house in Padiham.
The gruesome scene was discovered in the early hours of Sunday and it quickly became apparent that a sustained and prolonged attack had taken place.
Despite not having found a body, detectives are certain the victim would have died from his injuries.
Two men aged 19 and 20, from Oswaldtwistle and Padiham, were initially arrested on suspicion of assault but are now suspected of murder.
Forensic biologists were drafted in to conduct an examination of the scene while officers carried out house-to-house inquiries.
Mr Street, who formerly lived in Stanley Street, Accrington, was convicted of rape in 1999.
He appeared before Burnley Crown Court again in 2005 for flouting the Sex Offenders’ Register by not telling police where he was living.
Detectives cannot formally identify him as their victim until they receive the results of DNA testing on the blood found at the scene.
Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter, leading the probe, said: "This investigation is still in its early stages but as a result of initial inquiries, and despite the fact that we are currently unable to identify the victim, we believe that a vicious, prolonged and sustained attack has taken place.
"While I cannot confirm the victim is definitely Alan Lee Street, I have grave concerns for his safety and welfare and one of my main priorities at this stage is to trace him.
"I would appeal to anybody who has heard from Alan or knows of his whereabouts, or has been in his company since Friday, to contact police.
"At this stage I cannot rule out that this was a revenge attack.
"However, we do not have anyone in custody to back up that theory.
"I am expecting to be able to announce soon that the victim is Mr Street."
A crime scene was immediately established at 12.20am on Sunday when police were called to the terraced house in Stockbridge Road, Padiham, where they found a blood-soaked room.
Anybody with any information should contact police on 01282 425001 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.