Crimewatch bid TO snare dad’s killer

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Detectives investigating the murder of Sheffield dad Simon Holdsworth hope CCTV footage will help catch the killer.

Images recorded on a camera close to the playing field where Simon’s body was found are to be examined by specialists in the hope their clarity can be enhanced.

Simon Holdsworth with his fiancee Carle McKeown

Simon Holdsworth with his fiancee Carle McKeown

Police chiefs are hopeful the murderer has been captured on camera. The footage, to be screened on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme at 9pm tonight, shows a car pulling up close to the field where Simon’s body was discovered, and a figure getting out and walking onto the grass.

It shows another figure – who police suspect was Simon – walking onto the field in Hackenthorpe. A short time later a figure leaves the field, gets into the car which pulled up, and drives off.

Simon, aged 36, of Westfield Avenue, Hackenthorpe, was attacked as he made his way home from work as a paint sprayer. His body was found slumped on a field close to Rainbow Forge Primary School the following morning. He had suffered extensive head injuries.

Tonight’s Crimewatch appeal will also feature a reconstruction of Simon’s last known movements, and emotional interviews with his heartbroken mother, Christine, and fiancée Carleen McKeown. A tearful Carleen, whose son Tiarnan turned four just days after the murder, said: “I just kept thinking that, while I was asleep, he was laid on the field.”

Simon’s mum Christine added: “My heart is truly broken. There’s a big hole inside that will never heal. I don’t want it to happen to anybody else. I’d do anything not to let it happen to anyone else.”

Temporary Det Supt Phil Etheridge, who is leading the probe, said: “The car, because of the time it was in the area, needs to be traced, and is of significant interest to the investigation. If you were that driver I need you to come forward. We are trying to get the CCTV footage enhanced to identify the car.”

He said he hopes tonight’s appeal yields results: “We really hope tonight’s reconstruction, and the airing of the CCTV footage for the first time, will jog people’s memories and hopefully bring us the vital pieces of information we need to catch Simon’s killer.”

He added although Simon’s mobile phone and chain disappeared on the night of the attack, he is not convinced robbery was the motive.

“You would not need to use that level of violence to get those items,” he added. “There is the potential they were taken to give the impression it was a robbery.”

Temporary Det Supt Etheridge added: “The majority of murder victims know their killer, and the crime stems from something in their lives, so I want to hear from anyone who can tell me anything about Simon’s lifestyle or a reason somebody would want to do this.”

A 50-strong team is working on the case, and detectives will be in the Crimewatch studio to answer questions while colleagues man the phones in South Yorkshire.

Anyone with information about the murder, on the night of Monday, December 16, last year, should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 149 of December 17, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.