Horror at killing of ‘nice guy next door’

Police at the scene of a murder at a house on Highstone Avenue, Worsbrough Common, Barnsley
Police at the scene of a murder at a house on Highstone Avenue, Worsbrough Common, Barnsley
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A MAN murdered in his home in South Yorkshire was “well- known and well-liked” and loved his garden and his dog, shocked neighbours said today.

John Dawson, described by police as middle-aged, was found dead in his home on Highstone Avenue, Worsbrough Common, Barnsley.

Two men, aged 41 and 42, have been arrested and were being questioned yesterday.

Police have not revealed the cause of death but a murder investigation is under way. A post mortem examination was carried out.

Officers stood guard outside Mr Dawson’s taped-off semi-detached house while scenes of crime officers in white suits and masks searched inside.

A solitary bouquet of flowers was placed next to his garden wall. The message on the card read: ‘Finally at peace now’.

His next-door neighbour Lesley Hurd, aged 27, was shocked by his death and felt “guilty” that she had not heard anything or been able to help.

The mum-of-three said Mr Dawson was a good neighbour who would be missed.

“He was a nice man who used to talk to me while he was in his garden or walking his dog - he loved his garden.

“The first I knew that something was wrong was when all the police cars turned up, and then the police came to tell me there had been a serious incident but they didn’t actually tell me he had died.

“I can’t believe something like this could happen so close to where I live.

“My youngest daughter is really upset. She used to talk to him a lot when she saw him walking his dog. He loved his dog, he was always walking it.

“People are really worried because nobody has told us what has happened and whether we are safe.”

Mark Cooper, 31, who lives opposite, said Mr Dawson was football mad. An England flag can be seen draped at his upstairs window and a Barnsley FC sticker on his front door.

“I knew something was wrong when an ambulance and six police cars came. John was a nice old guy - he used to like talking about football and would always mention games he had seen. He was a big Barnsley and England fan.

“It’s crazy really to think this can happen on your doorstep. Police have done door-to-door enquiries asking if anyone saw or heard anything suspicious, but they never told us exactly what happened to him, we still don’t know.”

Mr Dawson’s other next-door neighbour Byron Bretton, 33, said: “It’s a tragedy - John was a really nice guy.

“He loved his garden and would be in it every single day in the summer and there would always be people stopping to talk to him. He was well-known and well-liked, really friendly. ”

n Mr Dawson was found on Monday. Anyone with information should call the incident room on 01709 443 544 or Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111.