THE devastated relatives of a Barnsley man who was stabbed to death at the weekend after a mass brawl, have paid tribute to a ‘much-loved family member’ and said he would ‘never be forgotten’.
Relatives of Philip Smith, aged 36, of Stotfold Drive, Thurnscoe, Barnsley, said today a ‘huge gap’ had been left in their lives after he was knifed on Saturday afternoon after a disagreement on Church Street.
In a statement released by South Yorkshire Police, a family spokesman said: “The tragic events of Saturday January 28, where Philip was fatally stabbed, have left a huge gap in the lives of many people.
“Philip was a much-loved member of a large family and we will never forget him.”
Appealing for witnesses to come forward and help the police with their investigation, his relatives said: “We have heard many rumours about what happened.
“We would ask that if anyone has any information about the incident to contact South Yorkshire Police as soon as possible so that justice can be done.”
Meanwhile, police are patrolling the village day and night to try to ease community tension.
Mr Smith was rushed to Barnsley District General Hospital after the attack, but he later died.
A man arrested on suspicion of his murder was still in custody yesterday but three others were bailed pending further enquiries the night before.
The crime scene on Church Street, close to the junction with Houghton Road, was sealed off and under police guard yesterday while officers carried out house-to-house enquires.
Detective Superintendent Andy Thompson, who is leading the murder investigation, said: “Extensive house-to-house and forensic enquiries have been taking place to establish the facts in this case.
“I still wish to hear from anyone who has any information or who witnessed the disturbance in Thurnscoe on Saturday afternoon.”
He said he was pleased with the ‘excellent’ response to police appeals for information.
“We are still establishing exactly what happened but from speaking to all the witnesses it is clear there was a confrontation between various parties just prior to this happening.”
“There has been excellent co-operation from people in the vicinity at the time – an excellent response to appeals for information.
“We want people to keep calm and let us investigate.”
Anyone with information should call the police incident room on 01709 443507 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.