Pals help pay for Sheffield murder victim’s funeral

Joe Walker, aged 23, who was killed near Raynald Road, Manor. Joe was stabbed.
Joe Walker, aged 23, who was killed near Raynald Road, Manor. Joe was stabbed.
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Grieving friends of a young man murdered in Sheffield are rallying round to help his devastated family pay for the funeral.

Pals of popular Joe Walker, 23, who died from a single stab wound, are to honour him with special T-shirts.

Last night a 17-year-old youth was being questioned by detectives having been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Sobbing relatives hugged one another as they laid floral tributes yesterday to the ‘always smiling’ football fan near the patch of land where he was fatally injured on Raynald Road on the Manor in the early hours of Saturday.

One woman, a cousin of Joe, wiped away tears as she told The Star: “All his friends are just rallying round, all putting towards the funeral and making T-shirts for him.

“Everybody loved Joe, they didn’t have a bad word to say about him. He was a lovely person to know and had so many friends.

“It has been such a shock for the family. He went out with his mates and then this happens.

“It is totally raw.”

Flowers, candles and a Sheffield United shirt have been left in Joe’s memory on Raynald Road, where it is believed a party spiralled out of control.

In a statement issued by the police, Joe’s parents appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“We cannot believe the pain and heartache that evil has brought to our family,” they said.

“Those who knew and loved Joe would say he was a cheerful lad who would put a smile on anyone’s face.

“If there is anyone who witnessed what happened to Joe, show him your respect by giving any information at all to South Yorkshire Police.

“Please, if you know anything that would assist the police, get in touch with them.

“This is not the time to hold back.”

South Yorkshire Police confirmed a teenager had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

“He is currently detained for the purpose of being questioned by officers,” said a force spokeswoman.

She added a post mortem examination had found Joe was killed by a single stab wound.

Hundreds of people have left online tributes to the former City School pupil, who lived on Hollybank Close in Intake.

A message written on the Blades shirt said: “Taken far too soon. I’ll miss you cousin, Tony will take care of you now.”

Other tributes spoke of how Joe was ‘smiling happily every day’ and was ‘one of the best’.

One card from Charlotte read: “I’m going to miss you so much Joe, fly safe, never forgotten. I’ll always think of you. So glad I got to spend the last night partying with you.

“Sleep tight beautiful, miss you, love you always.”

Several police, including search teams, remained at the murder scene yesterday as the investigation continued.

Nearby Waltheof Road was taped off, as were two passageways leading to the street. It was anticipated they would be reopened last night.

One resident of flats on the road, a 22-year-old mum called Jade, said: “I heard people arguing that night and a lot of shouting - then someone told me Joe had died.

“I couldn’t believe it. It has been such a shock for everyone. When you’ve got kids you don’t want this going off. My son is three and he shouldn’t have to hear about stuff like this, but everyone is talking about it.

“I have seen Joe around a few times and you couldn’t say a bad word about him. He was just a genuinely nice man and everyone would say the same.”

Temporary Detective Superintendent Phil Etheridge said: “Inquiries are continuing in the local area and we ask anyone who has information to contact police immediately.

“I echo the appeal from the family. You may think a piece of information is irrelevant, but it may be vital to our inquiry.”

Call police on 101 quoting incident 263 of September 21.