A 16-year-old boy from Leicester has been charged with murdering a pensioner after an 83-year-old was found strangled in his own Essex home.

The teen, who can not be named for legal reasons, is one of two people accused of killing Donald Ralph in the village of Aldham on Tuesday December 29.

Leighton Snook, a 28-year-old man, is also charged with the pensioners alleged murder, it has been reported.

Essex Police said Donald’s post-mortem found that he had died from "strangulation" in his home, LeicesterLive reports.

Mr Ralph’s family described him as a "unique" man who was "very young at heart" and loved being in the countryside.

Essex Police said Donald’s post-mortem found that he had died from "strangulation"

The pensioner also had a "wide circle of friends" who, along with his family will miss him very much.

His niece, Tina Ralph, said: "He was a man who loved all things countryside, particularly fishing and the Norfolk Broads, as well as being an avid bird lover.

"He loved horse racing and spent many a happy Saturday having a little flutter.

"Don was a unique character, who will be much missed by his wide circle of friends, and all his family."

Two men aged 30 and 39, and a 21-year-old woman, have been released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Snook and the 16-year-old also face one count of stealing a motor vehicle, while Snook is also charged with the possession of an offensive weapon.

The teen and Snook are due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday January 5

It comes after detective previously said Mr Ralph’s car, a blue Volvo V50 which was stolen from outside his home, was later found in Hastings, East Sussex.

The teen and Snook are due to appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Monday January 5.

In a statement, Essex Police said: "Two people will appear in court on Monday 4 January, to face a charge of murder.

"Leighton Snook, 28, of no fixed address and a 16-year-old boy from Leicester, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will both appear at Colchester Magistrates’ Court to face a charge of murder.

"The pair have been charged in connection with the death of Donald Ralph.

"Snook will also face additional charges of possession of an offensive weapon and theft of a motor vehicle while the teenager will also face a charge of theft of a motor vehicle.

"Two men, aged 30 and 39, and a 21-year-old woman, all arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

"Donald Ralph, 83, was found dead at his home in Halstead Road, Aldham on Tuesday 29 December. A post-mortem examination found he died from strangulation."