South Yorkshire dad’s body found in basement

Murder Scene on Sackville Street,Barnsley
Murder Scene on Sackville Street,Barnsley

The body of a dad could have lain undiscovered for weeks before police broke into his flat, shocked neighbours have said.

Gary Collins, aged 51, was found dead in his basement flat on Sackville Street in Barnsley last Tuesday after worried relatives raised the alarm.

Police were initially treating the death as ‘unexplained’ - but in the early hours of Saturday morning, a 27-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The suspect was still being questioned by detectives last night.

Neighbour Susan Smith, aged 58, described Gary as a ‘nice guy’ who ‘never hurt anybody’.

She said the victim had three grown-up daughters and that his wife died two years ago.

“I hadn’t seen him since the New Year,” she said.

“I knew he had to have an operation and thought he was staying somewhere to recuperate. But then I got the knock at the door at 4am from the police to tell me the bad news.

“They were trying to say he had been there for a week but he could have easily been in there for two to three weeks.

“There was a terrible smell from the length of time he’d been there.

“There are rumours that he has been stabbed.”

Susan said she was aware that her pal had a problem with drug abuse but that he was a ‘loveable man’.

“We’d have a drink together and play pool, he used to come round and have a cup of tea - and now he’s been taken away.”

A fellow neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said his death was ‘shocking’.

“It makes you feel a bit unsafe,” he said.

“I knew him to say ‘hello’ to - he seemed OK. The police were here until around Thursday. They interviewed just about everybody who lives round here and took statements.”

A post-mortem examination proved inconclusive and further tests are being carried out to establish the cause of death.