Murderer ‘unlikely to be a stranger’

Simon Holdsworth and  his fiancee Carleen McKeown
Simon Holdsworth and his fiancee Carleen McKeown

A Sheffield man murdered on his way home from work is ‘unlikely’ to have been killed by a stranger, according to detectives.

However, police officers reman baffled as to the motive for the murder of Simon Holdsworth and are appealing for everyone who knew him to come forward to help them build up a full picture of his life.

Mr Holdsworth, aged 36, was attacked in a field off Birley Spa Lane, Hackenthorpe, after he got off a bus as he made his way home from work after a late shift on Monday, December 16.

His body was found the following morning.

A post mortem examination revealed he had died from severe head injuries after being struck with a ‘blunt object’.

Detectives now want to speak to Simon’s friends, relatives, work colleagues and acquaintances to find out as much as they can about the paint sprayer’s life.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Phil Etheridge, who is leading the murder investigation, said: “We have already appealed to those who may have seen anything suspicious in the Birley Spa Lane area of Sheffield, or those who travelled on the bus with Simon as he made his final journey back to Hackenthorpe, to get in touch with us.

“However, we are now widening that appeal in a bid to find out as much as we can about Simon’s life.

“We are keeping an open mind regarding a motive for this brutal murder.

“However, it remains the case that, while we cannot eliminate it totally, it is unlikely this was a random attack carried out by a complete stranger.

“We are therefore seeking to discover who has done this to Simon, and why.

“In order to do this, we need to speak to all those who knew him in all spheres of his life, whether this be through work, his love of fishing, his following of Sheffield Wednesday or his personal life.”

“We know a lot about Simon’s life. We know he was due to get married next summer and was looking forward to the wedding, having booked the time off work for his honeymoon on the day he died.

“We also know he worked hard both as a sprayer and for himself, as he was keen to set up his own fishing tackle business.

“He would spend most weekends following Sheffield Wednesday home and away and was a season ticket holder at Hillsborough.

“However, I would still appeal to all those who were part of Simon’s world to call us. The information they hold, however apparently insignificant, could be the key to finding whoever has done this to him.”

Mr Holdsworth’s body was found at 6.30am on Tuesday, December 17.

n Anyone with information is asked to call South Yorkshire Police on 101.