Murder detectives seek suspect

DETECTIVES investigating the murder of a father-of-two have named the man they want to speak to in connection with their enquiries.Grant Byrom, known as “Granny”, was stabbed to death in Colchester more than seven years ago following an altercation outside a party.

DETECTIVES investigating the murder of a father-of-two have named the man they want to speak to in connection with their enquiries.

Grant Byrom, known as “Granny”, was stabbed to death in Colchester more than seven years ago following an altercation outside a party.

Yesterday, an inquest into the 30-year-old's death was finally carried out and details of the fateful night emerged before the Essex Coroner recorded an open verdict.

Since Mr Byrom's death on Boxing Day, 1998, no court proceedings have taken place and his killer remains free.


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But yesterday Detective Inspector Roy Clark, of Colchester police, said: “Even after seven years the case was never closed - there is a suspect who we are looking for in relation to this murder, Michael Seamus Donnelly, who was aged about 53 at the time and was a Colchester man.”

It is thought Mr Donnelly is now living abroad although there have been rumours that he has returned to the country on various occasions.

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Det Insp Clark's appeal followed dramatic scenes at the inquest where Mr Byrom's family hit out at the police for leaving the murder case to gather dust.

Mr Byrom's former partner, Suzanne Moore, told Colchester Coroner's Court she still did not know what was happening with the investigation.

“I have had to fight to get here today - you don't know how I feel - I have had to fight against the police to get this here today - seven years I have had to fight,” she said.

Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray told the family to calm down, warning she would clear the court.

Mrs Moore later went on to say: “It's like Granny has just died today, this is the first time we have ever heard what went on that day.

“I have got no answers at all, I need answers and will fight this one until the day I die.”

Det Insp Clark told the inquest the case was not closed and added: “Things have not gone quite as well as we would have liked with keeping the family informed and I do apologise.

“We have spoken to a large number of witnesses, taken many statements and a suspect has been identified.

“A man was arrested in relation to the incident and interviewed and a file was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service who decided not to prosecute.”

He said after the stabbing it was believed the main suspect, who has never been questioned, went to London and subsequently fled the country.

Mr Byrom's daughter, Tanya Moore-Byram was 10 when her father was killed and was at the inquest yesterday to hear of her father's final moments. Mr Byrom also had a son, Dean, now 14.

Yesterday's inquest, which was attended by family and close friends, heard Mr Byrom had been involved in an incident at the Clarendon pub in Colchester in the afternoon of December 26.

He later went to a party on the town's Greenstead estate with the intention of saying 'sorry' to a person he had a fight with.

It was outside the party in Forest Road that he then was attacked with a knife.

His friend, Sean Methven, was alongside Mr Byrom and another man, James O'Connell, when they were approached by three men outside the house.

He said as they started to leave he saw Mr Byrom slump forwards and they realised he had been attacked.

A statement from Mr O'Connell was also read out and he said one of the men had a knife although he did not know who had been holding it.

He said he had seen a man making “punching and slashing” motions.

It said: “He got close to Granny on a couple of occasions, I think Granny was trying to grab his arm.”

He described how My Byrom had collapsed before standing up again but then he fell again without putting his hands out and his head hit the curb.

An ambulance was called and Mr Byrom was rushed to Colchester General Hospital but died a short time later.

A post mortem showed Mr Byrom had 165 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood and also had traces of cannabis in his system. Two post mortems concluded he had died of a stab wound to his chest.

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