Vital Sheffield stab murder clues lost

Joshua Green was knifed to death

Joshua Green was knifed to death

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Vital forensic evidence which could have nailed a Sheffield dad’s killer may have been lost in the mayhem that erupted after his murder, detectives have revealed.

A contaminated crime scene, ‘confused’ witness statements and ‘a mist of fear of intimidation’ have hampered the hunt for Joshua Green’s murderer.

More than 18 months on nobody has been charged.

Joshua, aged 27, was stabbed to death in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2012 at the Stars and Mayfair Party Suites on Queens Road.

At an inquest into his death it emerged revellers rushing out of the venue in the chaos trampled through the crime scene.

Some of the 500 people at the New Year party had got into the club without walking through security arches in place to detect weapons.

Detective Inspector Steve Handley said by the time officers contained the crime scene, Joshua’s blood had been transferred from the dancefloor to other parts of the venue.

“The major difficulty with the scene was the number of people who walked through it while Joshua’s blood was on the floor,” he said.

“So it is very difficult to interpret forensic evidence due to the fact many people may have contaminated various areas.”

He said witness statements were ‘confused’ because another man was knocked unconscious in a separate disturbance just moments beforehand.

Det Insp Handley said witnesses had come forward – but many had remained silent, with a high number claiming to have seen nothing.

“Many people said they were in the toilets – it is unrealistic everyone was there,” DI Handley said.

The detective said many party-goers were unwilling to help police.

When police arrived further ‘pockets of violence’ broke out and CS gas had to be used to ‘control certain elements’.

“Cooperation has been sporadic,” DI Handley said.

“There were people reluctant to speak to the police because of how they live their lives – there was an element of criminality in the club.

“People who did want to were reluctant because of fear and concern because of some of the elements within the club.

“Certainly there was a mist of fear of intimidation.”

The inquest heard witnesses who cooperated have helped piece together the final moments of Joshua’s life.

“There was a reasonably short altercation – the majority saw Joshua in a struggle face-to-face with another individual and grappling with that person and they were moving backwards,” said DI Handley.

“Witnesses describe another man coming towards that altercation and blows were delivered by the first and second male.

“Some describe one of the males having something in his hand.”

Joshua, from Manor Park, was stabbed once in the neck and twice in the back.

A relative and friend gave CPR before police and paramedics arrived but he died at the scene.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, Sheffield Coroner Chris Dorries said: “This is not the sort of matter police ever give up on.

“The people involved know they have done it and will have to wait and eventually face a knock on their door.”

DI Handley said: “While the inquest has been heard and the coroner has delivered his verdict, this does not mean the murder investigation has been closed.

“Joshua Green was stabbed to death. Extensive and detailed inquiries have been conducted, officers have carried out meticulous forensic examinations, trawled through hours of CCTV footage, and spoken to more than 400 people at the party that night.

“We have yet to receive the vital piece of information that will help us bring Joshua’s killer, or killers, to justice - and we remain committed to achieving this.”

n Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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