UK In 1997 someone stabbed this gentle joiner 18 times in his own hallway - his family are still waiting for justice last minute news
MetiNews.Com - "Paul had no gripe with anybody. He was a lovely man. Paul was completely innocent of all of this."
Breaking News ! As autumn mists descend she makes a visit every year. For more than two decades on September 18th Vera McGrath has made her way through fallen leaves to the same plot. There she places red and white roses on the grave of her son - the colours of his beloved Manchester United - to mark his birthday and remember his short life. Then she waits - for justice. Justice, which she once thought was in her grasp. Paul McGrath, known as "Maggie" was murdered just after midnight on April 7th 1997. He was 34. He was a gentle, quiet man, a keen birdwatcher, whose terraced house was brimming with ornithology magazines and books. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here In a frenzied attack he was stabbed 18 times in the hallway of his own home in Denton. Police say he died purely because he was a friend of someone the killers were after. Two men were later charged with his murder. But after a trial in 1998 they were both cleared. Paul's father, Ronnie, never saw anyone convicted for taking his son's life. He died five years ago, aged 82. But Paul's sisters, Gillian, and Debra, are determined the same fate will not befall his mother. The Manchester Evening News report from April 1997 in which police identified Paul McGrath as a murder victim. He was found with multiple stab wounds at his home in Holland Street, Denton. Gillian said: "My mum needs to know that the truth will come out. She is 81 and fabulous. But she lost a child. To see a parent bury a child is the worst thing in the world. "To see my mum on Paul's birthday go into the cemetery with flowers for the last 23 years is horrendous. My mum needs to have justice. She is a beautiful, lovely woman, who has never harmed a fly and she has had to live with this. All this needs to end." Paul lived in Holland Street Denton alone, but had a girlfriend, and was planning to settle down. A hard worker, he was employed by Manchester city council as a joiner based at Openshaw. Gillian, 58, said: "He was a most decent person, no one has ever had a bad word to say about my brother. He knew the difference between right and wrong. Paul McGrath's sister Gillian. She is campaigning for justice after he was stabbed to death almost 23 years ago. (Image: ABNM Photography) "He was caring and a family man. He loved his mother particularly. He was a great brother to my sister and I and adored his nieces and nephews. "He left school at 16 and was a time served joiner,and worked six days a week. He had recently got into a new relationship with a lovely woman and they were planning a future together. "He would very much have liked to have children of his own. He was wonderful with mine and my sister's children. "That would have happened and he has been robbed of that." On the evening of April 6th 1997 Paul had been visiting local pubs with friends, including the Stamford Arms in Denton Road, Audenshaw, the Dog and Partridge in Ashton Road, Denton, and the Silver Springs pub in the town. Read More Related Articles Thirty-five years after Lisa Jane Hession was brutally murdered are police finally closing in on her killer? Gillian said: "It was a Sunday, it was quite nice weather. He had bumped into my dad in one of the local pubs and had a chat with him. "At the end of the evening Paul went home alone because his girlfriend had got to get up early the next day for work. "He got his stuff ready for work the next day - that was all laid out. He had gone to bed and then at approximately 1am two men knocked at his door - hammered his door. "Paul, innocently, got out of bed in his boxer shorts, turned the burglar alarm off, and answered the door, and the two men brutally stabbed him to death. "There is no motive to kill Paul whatsoever. What we think is that he had a friend to whom he was very loyal who was in a family dispute - a vendetta that got out of hand - it had nothing at all to do with Paul. The Manchester Evening News reporting on the investigation into Paul McGrath's murder in April 1997. "Paul was not involved at all and we can only believe they were looking for that person." Within ten days police had made arrests. Gillian said: "It was horrendous, none of my family had ever been to a court house before. When we arrived at Ashton Magistrates Court there were armed police on the stairwells, it was the most intimidating, frightening experience. "But we had every confidence at that stage that justice would prevail." In March 1998 two men went on trial at Manchester Crown Court. How the Manchester Evening News reported the consequent trial in March 1998 after the murder of Paul McGrath in April 1997. Prosecutor, Howard Bentham QC, claimed that a long-running feud led to the attack on Paul. He alleged that John Andrews, 54, and Michael White, 29, had killed Paul. Both denied murder. Mr Bentham claimed that a dispute between Mr Andrews and another man lay at the heart of the matter. Mr Andrews lived with his wife, and lodger, Mr White, in Denton, a mile away from where the man he was in dispute with lived in Holland Street, Denton, a few doors away from his friend, Mr McGrath. Bad blood had erupted between Mr Andrews and the other man - after Mr Andrews' daughter went to live with the other man, Mr Bentham claimed. Murder victim, Paul McGrath, and his sister Gillian, on holiday in Blackpool in 1965. She is now campaigning for his killers to be brought to justice - two decades after his death. (Image: ABNM Photography) He said Mr Andrews did not approve of the man. It was claimed in court that matters came to a head when a group including Mr Andrews and Mr White were entering a club at the same time as a party including the man were leaving. Mr Bentham told the court: "Fuelled by alcohol and hatred they resolved to do something about it." The prosecution claimed Mr Andrews and Mr White went to Holland Street arriving soon after midnight and began kicking and banging on Mr McGrath's door. Mr Bentham claimed a tiny fragment of the kitchen knife used in the murder was found at the scene. It matched a set found at Mr Andrews' home. Read More Related Articles Belle Vue greyhound stadium to close permanently after being hard hit by coronavirus lockdown He also claimed that footprints at the scene matched those of trainers being worn by Andrews and White.
. Mr Andrews died in 2015. Gillian said the jury returned its verdict after half an hour of deliberation. "My family has been devastated and torn apart. My mum, after the verdict, did not get out of bed for days. To see a mother go through such pain and anguish was heartbreaking. "My father never got over it. He carried it with him. As a father he always felt it was his duty to protect his children, and he felt he had let Paul down, that he couldn't protect him.
Murder victim, Paul McGrath, as a young lad on holiday in Whitby in 1969, aged seven.
(Image: ABNM Photography)
"My dad carried that with him always and Paul's nieces and nephews were all very damaged by it. How do you explain to young children that their beloved uncle has been murdered. "They were terrified that every time I left the house the same would happen to me. The consequences were so widespread that we have never got over it. "Whether it is birthdays, or Christmas, there is just that empty chair in the room. It just doesn't go away." "I have tried to talk publicly about this for years. I feel we have had obstacles put in our way. "It is through myself and my sister continuously pushing this that we are able to make this appeal.
Paul McGrath on his 18th Birthday with his parents, Vera, and Ronnie. Each September for more than two decades Vera has visited her son's grave on his birthday.
(Image: ABNM Photography)
"We are grateful, however, that GMP are doing this and putting up a reward that will be life-changing to someone." "Two decades have gone by. This family is still in pain, this family is still hurting. "There are people out there who can tell police in minute detail what happened. I hope their consciences will allow them to do this - tell the truth. "Let's put an end to this for my mum." Paul was a pupil at Egerton Park Comprehensive in Denton, before obtaining a City and Guilds qualification in joinery at Tameside College of Technology.
Paul McGrath, pictured in 1996, a year before he was murdered at his home in Denton. Two men went on trial for his killing, but both were cleared.
(Image: ABNM Photography)
Gillian said: "He was quite a quiet man really. His interest was birdwatching - he knew the identity of every bird in the UK. His house was full of bird magazines and he loved travelling and experiencing different cultures. He went abroad watching United. "If my sister or I needed a door hanging or any joinery he would come round to do it. He was extremely generous - kind, loyal, and lovely. We miss him every single day." Martin Bottomley, Head of Greater Manchester Police's Cold Case Unit, said Paul's body was found at 7.30am. "Workmen on a Monday morning found Paul's door ajar. Inside the hallway he had been savagely attacked. Justice has not been done in this case and we need to see it done. "Two men were later acquitted of Paul's murder. One has died.
Martin Bottomley, Head of Cold Case Unit at GMP, who is reviewing the case of Paul McGrath, murdered on April 7th 1997.
(Image: ABNM Photography)
"What we need from the public or from forensic evidence, and we are still doing a forensic review - is new evidence. "My appeal is for someone who knows exactly what happened to come forward." The initial investigation was marked by an astonishing element. One witness gave a detailed statement of circumstances relating to murder - then withdrew their statement. A £50,000 reward is on offer from GMP in a bid to catch the killers.
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Several weeks before Paul's murder another friend of the man that Mr Andrews was in dispute with was attacked with a snooker ball placed in a sock, but the incident was never formally reported to police. Mr Bottomley said: "There are people who know exactly what has happened. Those responsible will have told family, and friends - and they need to search their consciences. "Paul had no gripe with anybody. Paul was completely innocent of all of this. There was another tragic outcome of Paul's murder. He doted on his nephew, Kieron, taking him to football training every week at Hyde United, and occasionally to watch Manchester United.
Paul McGrath with his Nephew Kieron, and sisters Gillian and Debra at Gillian's Wedding in 1988. Tragically Kieron was unable to cope with Paul's murder and died young.
(Image: ABNM Photography)
Kieron's mother, Debra, said: "Every week he would take his eldest nephew, Kieron to football training, and every Sunday morning to the matches, he never missed it. "People did think he was his dad, because he spent that much time with him." Kieron died, aged just 22. Debra, 54, said: "I think as a consequence of this he turned to drink. He was 12 going on 13 when Paul died. It hit him most. They were very close. "Kieron played for Hyde United from the age of about five. No matter what the weather was Paul would be there for him." Gillian said: "They not only robbed us of Paul, but also my sister's son." Anyone with information on Paul's murder can call GMP's Cold Case Unit on 0161 856 5978.