Killer is still out there

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Residents on a Sheffield estate say they are still too afraid to leave their homes at night - six weeks after family man Simon Holdsworth was bludgeoned to death.

They are worried that the killer, who is still on the loose, could strike again.

Simon Holdsworth

Simon Holdsworth

Simon, aged 36, was attacked on his way home to Hackenthorpe from work as a paint sprayer at FBS Prestige, Intake.

His body was discovered in a field next to Rainbow Forge school. He had suffered severe head injuries.

Yesterday, as detectives issued a new appeal for fresh information about Simon’s life, worried residents told The Star they now stay indoors after dark.

Andrew Middlebrook, 43, said: “It’s worrying the police have not yet found the killer. I won’t go out at night now. I only live a five-minute walk from where it happened, and knowing that whoever did this is still out there frightens me.”

Robert Owen, 61, agreed. “People feel insecure because this has always been a quiet estate. The murder has come as a shock to the neighbourhood.

“The whole community is waiting with anticipation for the police to get who did this. That is the only thing which will ease fears.”

But Temporary Detective Superintendent Phil Etheridge, who is leading the murder investigation, said be believes the attack was targeted.

“I believe it highly unlikely this was a random attack,” he said. “I honestly do not believe people have reason to be unduly nervous or afraid.

“Hackenthorpe is a very safe area, one where all crimes – especially brutal crimes such as this – are extremely rare.

“This is a close-knit community, which has been stunned.”

He said the key to cracking the case lies in finding out everything possible about Simon’s life.

“I am still trying to find out who killed Simon and why,” he said. “Someone who had a grudge against Simon, perhaps in dispute with Simon, with a motive to take his life.

“These answers could go some way to alleviating the terrible grief being experienced by Simon’s devastated fiancée and mother.

“We are looking through all aspects of his private life.”

Floral tributes still line the entrance to the field where Simon’s body was found.

Among them is a card from his mum, which reads: “My darling son. My heart is broken but you will forever be in it. I love you so much and always will. Rest in peace, along with your dad.”

Two football shirts have also been left for the avid Owl, and messages including ‘I will never forget you’, ‘A true gent’ and ‘Thanks for being a mate’.

Det Supt Etheridge said he wants to hear from people in the Delves Road and Birley Spa Lane areas on the night of the attack - Monday, December 16.

He said people who were visiting an Indian takeaway, and drinking in The Hogs Head pub nearby, may have seen or heard something.

“We are lacking people who saw Simon from the time he got off his bus at 11.10pm to the time he met his death,” he said.

He also said anyone who may have ‘discovered information’ since should come forward.

“However insignificant you may feel it is, let us be the judge - it could be the key.”

A 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder but bailed pending further inquiries, and detectives are ‘keeping an open mind’ as to motive.

The ‘blunt instrument’ murder weapon has also yet to be found.