Family in plea for justice for Sheffield woman sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed in Sheffield

Patricia Grainger
Patricia Grainger

Two decades after a Sheffield mum was sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed to death before being dumped in a brook close to her home, her heartbroken family hope the anniversary may provide detectives with new leads to help find the killer.

Police officers are to set up a mobile police station in Parson Cross today in the hope that residents who remember the murder of 25-year-old Patricia Grainger come forward with information or suspicions.

Detectives need new leads if the probe into the killing is to progress.

Patricia's son, Danny, is now the same age as his mum was when two teenage boys found her body dumped under an abandoned bed base close to a brook running through the city estate.

He met with South Yorkshire Police detectives earlier this week to discuss the case and the need for new leads if the killer is ever to be caught.

"Somebody may know something or remember something that means nothing to them but it could be just what the police need," he said

"Our family has had 20 years of hurt and pain. We just need to know who did this."

Patricia's youngest sister, Sharon Grainger, 42, said she can vividly remember the day the body was found and all the police activity around Parson Cross.

"Everywhere you looked the police were there and there were cordons all around the place. All the neighbours were out in the street too, everyone was talking about it because it was such a shock and big news at the time," she said.

Although an adult, Patricia had learning difficulties and the mental age of a 10-year-old.

"Everyone knew and loved Pat. She acted like a 10-year-old and loved to colour and play with the kids in the family," she said.

"It's heartbreaking to me to think that someone would kill her and that all I have left of her is a felt picture that she did. All her belongings were taken by the police early in the investigation and it's like she never existed as we have nothing. It worries me that our memories are going to fade."

Sharon, a mum-of-three, said she hopes her sister's killer is no longer alive.

"I hope whoever did this is dead because to think he could still be walking the streets scares me. My worst fear is that something will happen to someone else," she said.

"This has affected me badly because it makes you realise what a scary world we live in."

Sharon said she is pleased that detectives are using the 20th anniversary of the death to appeal for new information, but that she is disappointed that two decades later officers are still no closer to solving the case.

"I think more could have been done over the years. It's disappointing to me that 20 years after a murder the killer could still be out there," she added.

Patricia's older sister, Lynne Hulley, who still lives in Parson Cross, said she does not feel safe knowing the killer is not behind bars.

"I don't feel safe knowing he is out there. I could walk to the shops and he could be behind me and I wouldn't know," she said.

Lynne, who is 47 and a mum-of-five, said she thinks of Patricia every day.

"I think of her and what happened to her every single day. It never goes away," she said.

"I was on anti-depressants for 13 years because of it. That's how these things affect the families left behind."

She described her sister as a 'lovely girl' who she saw every day.

"She was always at my house with my kids. She would come to play with them and take them out to the park and they loved her," she said.

"Pat would talk to anyone and wouldn't hurt a fly, she was a lovely girl so to think that somebody would want to hurt her is something I cannot understand. I would like to string them up by their neck for what they did to her.

"Our mum died without finding out who did it and why, and that killed her. It's time for our family to get the answers we need now and I hope this anniversary appeal helps achieve that.

"I just hope that someone with information has the courage to come forward."

Patricia's stepfather, Roy Wright, who brought her up from when she was five, said: "I want him caught, I want justice for our Pat.

"I know some people might have a fear of coming to the police but please think of our Pat and what she went through and us as a family still living without justice for her.

"Please come forward. It's not too late to put this to bed. I just want peace and until justice is served we cant' get any.

"I don't want the killer dying without taking punishment for what they did to Pat."

Mel Staniland, who lived in Parson Cross at the time of the muder, said: "She was such a lovely girl. Many a time she would knock on my door for a chat and to see my kids."

Sarah Martin-Fletcher added: "I knew Pat she was a lovely soul - harmless and very pleasant."

Charlotte Marshall, whose mum was Patricia's cousin, said: "I was only young when it happened but I can still remember the day my mum found out. There will be justice one day."

Sareena Swindells added: "I grew up on Deerlands Avenue and often used to see Patricia walking around. She was lovely and harmless."

Anyone with information on the murder should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.