July 31 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
The grandmother of a 20-year-old who was fatally stabbed at a birthday party has led tributes to a “lovely man” who adored his young son and had a wealth of friends.
Connor Barrett, who leaves a son aged almost three, was stabbed in the chest and back following an altercation at a house party in Hemsby on Saturday night.
Yesterday, his grandmother Anne Barrett said the family was numb and struggling to come to terms with what had happened.
“One of the reasons I moved away from the East End 23 years ago was because it was getting so violent there,” said Ms Barrett, of Great Yarmouth.
“Everybody liked Connor. I don’t think I knew anyone who didn’t like him. We can’t understand why this happened.
“You read about this kind of thing and hear about knife crime and you feel sorry for the families involved. You never think it’s going to happen to you.”
Mr Barrett, of Abyssinia Road, Great Yarmouth, was a guest at the party in the Glebe in Hemsby - a quiet residential street close to the beach resort’s amusements and seafront, when violence erupted. His grandmother said he loved music and he was DJing at the get-together, understood to be a 21st birthday party.
Six youths have been arrested on suspicion of murder following Mr Barrett’s death.
Four youths, aged 15, 16, 17 and 18, were arrested close to the house on Saturday night.
A fifth, aged 17, was arrested yesterday afternoon and taken to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre for questioning. Yesterday evening detectives arrested a sixth youth, a 15-year-old from the Yarmouth area. He is currently in custody and being questioned at Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre.
Magistrates granted a warrant of further detention in respect of the four teenagers arrested on Saturday, giving police until this afternoon to continue their questioning.
Describing the investigation into Mr Barrett’s death as fast-moving, detective chief inspector Paul Durham said all those at the party were known to each other. DCI Durham, who is leading the Norfolk and Suffolk’s Joint Major Investigation Team, dispelled rumours that the teenagers arrested had gate-crashed the party.
He said: “We believe this to be an isolated incident with a tragic outcome.
“This type of crime doesn’t happen often in Norfolk and certainly not in Hemsby and so we understand that it does have the capacity to shock local communities.
“However, I want to reassure people that although this is a fast-moving enquiry, we have already made significant progress.”
A post mortem examination confirmed Mr Barrett was killed by a stab wound.
The weapon, or weapons, used remain unaccounted for, and DCI Durham said finding the weapon, believed to be a knife or sharp-bladed instrument, was now a priority, alongside tracing and speaking to party-goers who were near Mr Barrett when he was assaulted.
“We know there was some sort of altercation shortly after 11pm and Connor was assaulted at a point after this,” added DCI Durham.
There are now 50 officers, including detectives and uniformed police, working on the investigation.
Last night, officers and forensic teams remained at the scene in Hemsby.
Emergency services were called to the address at about 11.25pm on Saturday. Mr Barrett was found with serious injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the James Paget Hospital.
In tributes to Mr Barrett on Facebook, friends and family described him as a young man with a ‘heart of gold’ and his whole life ahead of him.
One posting on an ‘RIP Connor Barrett’ page read: “You didn’t deserve this. You were a bright boy and always smiling away. Hope everyone down here makes you proud. Such a shame another young guy’s life has been taking for no reason at all.”
Anyone with information on Saturday’s incident is asked to contact the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team in Norfolk on 101 or, alternatively, pass information anonymously via the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555111.