Frank 'paid for being a good citizen'

COURAGEOUS millionaire Frank McGarahan “paid the ultimate price of life for being a good citizen” as he stepped in to protect a homeless man and his girlfriend from a brutal attack, loved ones said last night.

COURAGEOUS millionaire Frank McGarahan “paid the ultimate price of life for being a good citizen” as he stepped in to protect a homeless man and his girlfriend from a brutal attack, loved ones said last night.

The family of the top banker killed in Norwich city centre in the early hours of Sunday said they were not surprised he had risked his own safety to come to somebody else's rescue - but added they would never be able to understand his “wicked” murder.

It comes as Norfolk police's major investigation team announced it had arrested three people on suspicion of murder.

The three men, all from Norfolk and in their early twenties, are in custody at police stations across the county where they were interviewed last night into this morning. Officers are still keen to hear from witnesses.

The 45-year-old father-of-two was with his brother Kevin, who lives in the Norwich area, and a cousin and was returning from a quiet night and was due to attend the christening of his baby niece Thea at St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral later on Sunday.

As Mr McGarahan, who was chief operating officer of Barclays Wealth and was in charge of assets worth £133bn, waited for a taxi in the Guildhall Hill area he saw a 35-year-old homeless Lithuanian man and his girlfriend, a 45-year-old from Norfolk, being attacked.

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He intervened but the group turned on him, inflicting fatal head injuries.

Brother Tony said: “This tragedy, a vicious wicked murder, ruins the life and lives of so many people who must eventually pick up the pieces and carry on. And we will try to do that but without Frank in our family and in our lives.

“We will never understand how or why anyone could murder such a decent, caring and loving man. We will never comprehend it or truly recover from it.”

The murder coincides with calls for changes to police powers to back have-a-go heroes prepared to stand up to criminals on our streets. Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve told the Tory party conference: “It's our duty to help, not hinder active citizens.”

He added: “We'll scrap the Whitehall targets that encourage police to pick on soft targets. We'll amend the police guidelines so officers back those who use reasonable force to maintain the Queen's peace.

“And we'll ensure that the code for Crown Prosecutors is amended so it is crystal clear that it is not in the 'public interest' to prosecute those who perform a citizen's arrest in good faith.”

Det Supt Chris Hobley, who is leading the murder investigation for Norfolk police, said it was difficult to judge whether Mr McGarahan had made the right decision.

He said: “Clearly his natural instinct was to prevent harm to somebody else, but there is always a risk associated with such actions. In this case that risk has resulted in a tragedy.”

The christening of Thea, daughter of Kevin McGarahan and his wife Christine, was due to take place at 11am on Sunday. The couple are regular worshippers at the cathedral.

Father James Walsh, cathedral dean, said: “I've been in contact with the family and said we are here for them. They are very shaken by it. I spoke to Christine this morning.

“They are a lovely family. Kevin and Christine were married here and worship here. The funeral will probably be here.

“I want to give them all a little time to get over the initial shock, but they know we are here for them.

“The fact that he went to the defence of somebody who was being attacked says something about the man himself and his moral courage and physical courage.

“But it also says something about the situation on our streets. We like to think of Norwich as a safe place, and it usually is, but there's a lingering fear that something will happen.”

Mr McGarahan's cousin also suffered minor injuries and it emerged a third man also risked his safety. Darryl Lawton, 42, was working on the door at the nearby Spearmint Rhino club when he heard the commotion and ran to help.

His boss Glenn Alexander, managing director of Norwich Premier Security Services, said: “He was working at the club and saw a disturbance at the end of the street.

“It was nothing to do with the club. When he saw it was more than a normal dispute, he risked his own life to try to save one of the guys. Unfortunately, one of the guys is dead and Darryl is very, very upset about it.

“It could easily have been two deaths. He stepped in out of his own judgment.

“He got kicked in the head and punched. He's got a fractured jaw, but even after he got that he tried to give resuscitation to the man who died.”

Police are studying security camera footage to establish exactly what happened. The group made off along Pottergate towards Grapes Hill. A post-mortem examination was due to take place last night to establish the exact cause of death.

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