Son of murdered Sheffield businessman describes family’s torment

Anthony Power who was murdered in High Hazels Park, Darnall, Sheffield.
Anthony Power who was murdered in High Hazels Park, Darnall, Sheffield.
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John Power, son of murder victim Anthony, has written this statement about the impact the crime has had on his family

“My mum and dad were really enjoying spending their retirement together after a lifetime of hard work.

“They had lots of plans for their future together, and were particularly excited about the imminent birth of Danny’s first child.

“He and his wife had been trying for a baby for years and were due to give birth on Tuesday 9th October 2012.

“Mum and dad were due to travel down to London that day to see the new baby and the rest of the family were intending to travel down the following weekend for a family celebration.

“When mum found out dad was missing, she contacted all of us in a state of hysterical panic. I had my son with me at the time and was some distance away, and the sheer, abject panic I felt is almost indescribable.

“I felt as if I had been hit by a shockwave or fear and foreboding.

“My heart was pounding so hard.

“We travelled to the hospital, and at first when we arrived they didn’t know who dad was or where he had been taken.

“The panic and despair we all felt at that moment were overwhelming.

“The ambulance then arrived and we still didn’t see dad as he was receiving treatment.

“We waited in a room, and some time later they brought dad back from where he had had a scan.

“He was surrounded by about 20 nurses and doctors, and as I caught sight of his face I crumpled to the ground.

““His face was completely unrecognisable. It was absolutely black with blood and swelling, his features were distorted and his hair was pink with blood.

This image still haunts me and I can’t get it out of my head.

“I couldn’t believe this was my dad. How could someone do this to him? Why hadn’t I been there to stop it?

“We were also faced with the agonising decision of whether or not to call Danny and tell him about what had happened - this was the eve of the most exciting and eagerly anticipated day of his life and we so desperately wanted him to be able to enjoy it. Dad had been so excited about the birth and was sure it would be a little girl. In the end of course we had to tell Danny, who not only lost his dad but lost the first three weeks of his daughter’s life, and the chance for her to get to know her grandad.

“The following three weeks when dad clung on to his life were unbearable.

“We constantly had our hopes raised and then dashed over and over again - at first it seemed that dad couldn’t possibly survive, but then there seemed to be positive signs but these were always followed by bad news.

“The prognosis seemed to change on a daily basis, and we were either euphoric or devastated. It was such an emotional roller coaster.

“It was particularly distressing for us as on the outside dad seemed to be getting better- his horrendous facial injuries seemed to be healing and he started to look like himself again.

“We all spent up to eight hours a day at his bedside, willing him to survive.

“My mum had to spend their 53rd wedding anniversary in a bedside vigil watching her husband fade away.

“He never regained consciousness and we started to brace ourselves for saying goodbye to the dad we all loved so much.

“I remember the doctors saying to us: ‘The man you knew has gone’.

“The day dad died, Friday, October 26, was an agonising and horrendous day.

“All treatment was withdrawn at 11 am, and we were told that nature would take its course.

“We then spent the rest of the day watching my dad die - he clung on for eleven hours, and fought for breath the whole time.

“I remember watching his chest rising and falling, trying to take in such strong breaths.

“It was unimaginably painful for us all, especially my mum.

“At one point during the day dad actually opened his eyes. It may have been a reflex action, but he looked straight at my mum with such love in his eyes. It was a beautiful moment and seemed as if he was saying goodbye. He didn’t want to die. He didn’t want to leave us.

“After dad died we had an appalling delay before we could organise the funeral.

“We understood that due to the way he died there were certain processes that had to be adhered to, but it was unforgivably cruel that we had to wait so long to lay him to rest. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people which was testament to the kind of man he was.

“As a family we cannot overemphasise the devastating effect that this has had on us.

“We all miss my dad in our own individual ways and haven’t even begun to come to terms with his loss.

“We are grieving each and every day and all of us often wake up during the early hours.

“My mum has said it’s like waking up from a nightmare and then realising that it’s true and I think that is a good description.

“Because of my mum and dad we are the people who we are today, and as a family unit we will somehow get through this.

“We will not let this overcome us.

“I’m afraid that it’s a different story for my mum. She is totally lost without my dad, her rock.

“She doesn’t eat, she doesn’t sleep, she doesn’t take any enjoyment in anything any more.

“She has been cheated out of her final years with my dad and I don’t think she will ever come to terms with his loss.

“We can’t bear to think of him in that park being kicked to death.

“The thought of how he sustained his injuries will torture us forever.

“It has made me feel scared and vulnerable, for me and for my kids.

“As for the perpetrator, at this stage we are trying not to even think about him.

“We just cannot understand how anybody could so viciously attack my dad in this unprovoked manner. How could someone like that end the life of someone so great and so full of life?

“My dad did not deserve to die in this way.

“It was a privilege to have been his son and we want to see justice done to its fullest extent.”