POLICE investigating a murder they believe may have been racially-motivated said they had received a disappointing response from the public.

Lee Phipps was white, but he and his mother, Barbara Yusuf-Porter, whose father came from Somalia, claimed to have been subjected to years of abuse from local racists.

Mr Phipps was found dead on an elderly woman's doorstep, close to the home he shared with his mother in South Shields, South Tyneside, on Thursday afternoon.

The blond 31-year-old had been stabbed several times, once to the heart.

Northumbria Police said on Saturday that the family's history of racial harassment claims meant that was a strong line of inquiry.

Detective Superintendent Steve Wade, leading the investigation, said the public response had so far left him disappointed.

A dog walker has come forward to say he saw a man running from Cleadon Hill Road, where Mr Phipps was found.

The victim had set out to photograph snow around Cleadon Hills and the man was seen to head off in that direction.

Police want him to come forward so he can be eliminated from their inquiry.

He was in his early 20s, with an average build, with dark hair and was wearing a sky blue top.

Det Supt Wade said: ''We know there were people in the area at the time and it is vital they come forward, whether or not they think they saw anything suspicious.''

Last year, Mrs Yusuf-Porter set up an Internet support group for victims of racial abuse, in which she made allegations about local people and police.

In 2002, she lost an employment tribunal case against a double-glazing company alleging she was racially abused at work.