Family pays tribute to murder victim

TRIBUTES have been paid to a 20-year-old Suffolk man who was stabbed to death in broad daylight behind a row of busy shops.William O'Connor, known as Bill, died in hospital on Friday afternoon, shortly after his body was discovered behind a shopping precinct near Home Farm Lane, in Bury St Edmunds.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a 20-year-old Suffolk man who was stabbed to death in broad daylight behind a row of busy shops.

William O'Connor, known as Bill, died in hospital on Friday afternoon, shortly after his body was discovered behind a shopping precinct near Home Farm Lane, in Bury St Edmunds.

Last night, Mr O'Connor's distraught family released a statement that said: “The death of Bill has been a devastating tragedy to all of his family and friends.

“He will be remembered as a kind gentle person who nobody had a bad word to say about.


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“He is a much loved son, brother and uncle, he will be sadly missed. As a family we would appeal to anyone who has information to contact the police.”

Mr O'Connor, who lived with his family in Bury, had gone to meet someone behind the shops at just before 12.20pm.

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There was a violent struggle, and Mr O'Connor was discovered just minutes later with multiple stab wounds. He was taken to the nearby West Suffolk Hospital but died that afternoon.

Detectives investigating the murder are now trying to trace the driver of a white transit van, which was seen in the area of Home Farm Lane shortly before and after the incident took place.

At a press conference held at Bury Police Station on Saturday, Det Chief Insp Dave Skevington said the van, which has been described by witnesses as “a few years old”, is now the main focus of the investigation, and could be the key to catching Mr O'Connor's murderer.

“The van was seen at the time the victim was walking to the shops, and was then spotted leaving the area shortly after the stabbing took place,” he said.

“We need to speak to anyone who was in the area around this time, and who saw the van, or has any information that might help us determine why this man has died.”

Mr Skevington also attempted to allay fears that Friday's incident was a chance attack, and said there was no reason to believe the killer would strike again.

“There clearly is someone out there who has committed a murder, and we need to find that person. But we are treating this as an isolated incident. People always need to take care, but there is nothing to signify that the victim was killed at random,” he said.

“We believe the killer knew the victim, and it is possible that other people would have known about the meeting on Friday, so we would be keen to speak to them.

“At the moment we are looking for one person, but we are keeping an open mind.”

Mr Skevington said extra police patrols had been put in place around the area of Home Farm Lane. He said the next step was to check CCTV footage of the area, and to continue their enquiries by speaking to everyone in the area in a bid to piece together a picture of what happened in the time leading up to Mr O'Connor's death.

Forensic experts were yesterday continuing their search of the murder scene, which remains cordoned off, although all roads surrounding the area have now been reopened to motorists.

Mr Skevington added: “We have an awful lot of information, and have had a lot of support from people running businesses in that area. At the moment we are concentrating on finding that van, and we need to hear from anyone who thinks they can help.”

A post-mortem examination carried out over the weekend confirmed Mr O'Connor died from stab wounds.

Anyone with information about the murder should contact Suffolk police on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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