Visitors’ shock at Doncaster park murder

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Visitors to a Doncaster park have spoken of their horror after police sealed off part of the site for a murder investigation.

A 65-year-old man was found collapsed in Hexthorpe Park, Hexthorpe, at around 4.40am yesterday and later died sparking the investigation

Seventy-year-old Hexthorpe resident Glenyse Cullingworth said: “There have been shootings, stabbings, all sorts in Hexthorpe.

“We don’t go out at night, no-one feels safe any more. We used to see the police around, even the horses going through at times but that doesn’t seem to happen now.

“We feel quite secure in the little place where we live but the rest of Hexthorpe is a different matter. It’s usually the lower part where the trouble is though and the park’s at the top.”

The Dell Cafe at the edge of the park was quieter than usual which could have been due to the police presence in the park, said cafe assistant Liz Reasbeck, 21.

She said: “We have noticed the police going in and out and have asked what has happened but so far no-one has given us any information. Everyone’s asking about it who comes in.”

Thorne resident Trevor Taylor, who was in the area on business and had stopped by the cafe, said it was a first visit for him and his wife Judith and he felt a sense of sadness at seeing the police and knowing the reason for their being there.

Balby resident David Clayton, 52, who was at the park for the first time, on his disability scooter, said: “I saw all the police and the cordons and thought it looked like a fatality. Very sad in such a beautiful park.

“There’s trouble going on all the time these days. There was a murder down my street last week.

“There’s an aviary here and they’ve been trying to break in to that recently I’ve been told. There are a lot of scumbags around with no respect for anyone.”

Emma Cooper, 34, of Conisbrough, who visits the park in holiday time with her family, said: “I saw all the activity but didn’t know what was going off. We’ve had a lovely time, a picnic and seeing the birds. It is shocking to hear what’s happened but it won’t stop us coming here.”

Laura Smithson, 27, of Balby, who was with her two daughters in the park, said: “We’ve been to visit a friend’s memorial tree in the park today.

“I noticed the police so knew something had happened but I do feel safe here.”

Joaana Dabrowski, 32, of Balby, said the death was ‘horrible’ and added: “It will make me careful in the future.

“It always seems quiet. We come every so often to the play park.”

n Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 103 of 18 April 2017.

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