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Murdered Disabled Man Was Trying To Rebuild Life, Says Family

April 22, 2010

The brother of a murdered disabled man has told how he had moved into a flat and was “getting himself back together” before he was attacked.

Andrew Holmes said his brother Philip, from Rhyl, Denbighshire, was due to celebrate his 57th birthday with family on Saturday.

He was found dead in his flat on 16 April, after being seriously assaulted.

Police are trying to establish the last movements of Mr Holmes, who was described as “a proud, gentle person”.

In a statement, the Holmes family said they were originally from Manchester, but moved to Rhyl 40 years ago.

Philip Holmes, who was found murdered in his flat in Rhyl,  Denbighshire

He was described as “vulnerable but… a proud, gentle person”

Philip Holmes, one of seven children, was a former pupil at Christ Church School (formerly Glyndwr), and was described as “well known” in Rhyl.

After leaving school he worked with a local coal merchant, but an accident at work at the age of 18 left him disabled and unable to walk without a frame.

His family said he had stayed with friends and lived in hostels in recent years, but had moved into his own flat last month and was determined to improve his life.

Andrew Holmes said: “He was just getting himself back together.”

Mr Holmes’ sister, Carolyn Trehearn, added: “As a family we were all trying to help him make his flat a bit more of a home.

“And we had all planned to take him out for dinner on Saturday so that we could celebrate his birthday as a family.

“He had so much to look forward to. He was disabled and vulnerable but he was a proud, gentle person, who knew he needed help.”

Det Ch Insp John Hanson, of North Wales Police, said: “We are looking at a number of motives.

“There are a number of items missing from the flat and we suspect that Philip sustained his injuries in the flat, but we are keeping an open mind as to whether a weapon was used.

“Philip was distinctive because of his disability.

“He was vulnerable from a mobility perspective and we are appealing to anyone who knew him or who knew of his movements to contact the incident room.”

Mr Holmes was last seen alive at about 1800 BST last Thursday, around 17 hours before his body was discovered.

The death was initially described by police as “unexplained” but on Wednesday officers said they were now treating his death as murder.

Officers conducted house to house enquiries and are trying to build up a picture of his daily activities.

Anyone with information, or who knew Mr Holmes, is asked to contact police on 0845 6071001 (Welsh language) or 0845 6071002 (English). Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or text 66767.

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