TORTURED to death in his Bedfont home, the last hours of Peter Houghton's life resembled the kind of horror more associated with a Quentin Tarantino movie than a leafy west London suburb.

The scene that greeted police when they broke into the 46-year-old father of one's home in Fawns Manor Close was one of the most sickening many of the officers had ever seen.

They found his sliced and mutilated body almost three days after his murder but are baffled as to any motive for the attack on the unassuming man known in a number of local pubs. The number of lacerations and slashes to his neck and chest have led police to believe that he was slowly tortured to death over an extended period - but no weapon has been found and it is unknown whether the attack was the work of a lone psychopath or a gang of thugs.

"It wasn't a pleasant scene for police to find," said DCI Stuart Cundy, "all I'm going to be saying is that it's an horrific attack. There were a lot of stabs and cuts wounds - for that reason I believe he was tortured. If that's the case I'm dealing with an exceptionally terrible monster.

"There's no obvious motive. It was his home address, he'd lived there a number of years, he was well known locally and there's no criminal activity that he was involved in. There are a lot of questions I would like the answer to."

"It's a week since he was found (Monday March 14). Whoever attacked him must have had a lot of blood on them, they must have cleaned themselves. Someone who saw the attacker mightn't have realised how serious this was."

The police had been called by one of Mr Houghton's friends after he apparently disappeared on Friday March 4 - when he was last seen drinking in the Bell on the Green Public House. They have already spoken to many of the locals, but are keen for more who were there on the night to contact them.

Drinkers were reluctant to talk when approached by this newspaper. Bar staff refused to comment.

One man claimed to have known Peter well but then refused to comment further when he learned a newspaper was asking.

The unemployed Mr Houghton was known to drink in a number of other bars in the area - including the Load of Hay in Bedfont, and the District Arms in Ashford.

Landlord of the Load of Hay, Lee Foster, said: "He was very quite and got on with his own business. He seemed a nice fellow and wasn't the sort of person to get into trouble."

Mr Houghton, who lived alone, leaves an 18-year-old daughter.

Anyone with information should contact the incident room on 020 8721 4005. To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.