The family of 46-year-old Thurnscoe man Stafford Garner spoke tearfully at a press conference held at Wombwell Police Station on Tuesday morning.
Stafford, a ‘nice, genuine’ father-of-three who was well-known in the village, was found with serious head injuries in his home on Monsal Street on April 2 and died in hospital three days later.
Investigations into the suspected assault have led police to claim there are ‘a number of people in the Thurnscoe area who know exactly what has happened to Stafford’.
His mother Gail Hatton, speaking alongside brothers Spencer and Shaw Garner, and sisters Cas Houghton and Steph Jones, said the close-knit family had been ‘torn apart’ by Stafford’s death.
“Whoever’s done it, I don’t know how they can live with themselves,” Gail, 67, of Darfield, told the Chronicle.
“And how can the people who know what’s happened live with themselves knowing they could inform us?
“We want to know who did it, and why.
“All I can think about is him being attacked, the damage that was done to him. It was a really horrendous, vicious attack.
“I don’t know if he was conscious through it, or what he was thinking or feeling.
“I’d like to know that at least he wasn’t conscious.”
Stafford was last seen fit and well on March 31, and police believe there are people who saw him between that date and when the ambulance arrived at his home two days later.
Spencer, 48, from Thurnscoe, said there ‘had to be at least ten people’ who know what led to Stafford’s death.
Cas, 32, from Brampton, added: “Someone has to be held accountable for this. Someone has to be brought to justice, to know that they can’t do it to someone else.
“We’re constantly waiting. Normally when someone dies, the funeral is the last step, but our story and his story aren’t over.”
Stafford, who was born in Great Houghton and attended Gooseacre and The Hill schools in Thurnscoe, had a circle of friends, some he’d lost touch with, but all of whom had been ‘shocked’ to hear of his passing.
Spencer said: “We’re still expecting him to come through the door and put the kettle on.
“He was such a nice, genuine guy. If someone had lost a leg, he’d give them his.
“He’d rather do without than someone else do without.”
Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Rob Platts, told the Chronicle: “Even with the Covid-19 restrictions in place, I know there were people out and about, and I know there are people that will have visited Stafford’s address and neighbouring addresses.
“I know people will have seen or spoken to Stafford during the time we last see him and when the ambulance arrived.
“I know people will have been there and witnessed whatever happened to Stafford.
“Stafford’s family are very close to him, they’re all residents from around the Thurnscoe area.
“He’d grown up in the area. A lot of people knew him - it’s that type of village.
“He was a well-known, popular character. From the people we’re speaking to, from all walks of life, he was genuinely a good, honest, caring guy.
“That makes it all the more pressing that we find out what happened to him.
“We know Stafford was a regular kind of guy with a regular routine.
“Lines of enquiry are progressing, but from what I and my investigating officers have found out, there are people out there who will have information about what’s happened to Stafford.
“I want to be absolutely clear - I want those people to come forward and tell us what they’ve heard, and what they’ve seen.
“Do it for Stafford’s family, so they can get the peace, and the justice for Stafford that they quite rightly deserve.”
If you can help, call 101 quoting incident number 494 of April 2.
Alternatively, you can give information completely anonymously through independent charity Crimestoppers via its website - www.crimestoppers-uk.org - or by calling the UK Contact Centre on 0800 555 111.