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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 May, 2003, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Murder police confirm safe find
Michael Hughes
Michael Hughes died from head injuries

Police investigating the murder of a pub landlord from the Black Country have confirmed a safe, taken from the pub, has been found in the Wyrley and Essington Canal in nearby Bloxwich.

The body of Michael Hughes, 59, was found in his bedroom at the Royal Oak, in Pelsall, near Walsall last month.

West Midlands Police believe father-of-five Mr Hughes was killed by intruders.

Detective inspector Mick Moore, who is leading the investigation, said the discovery of the safe is a "major leap" forward in the investigation.

Anonymous caller

He is now appealing for witnesses who may have seen the killers dumping the cream-coloured Sentry-brand safe in the Wyrley and Essington Canal, to come forward.

They say the safe was likely to have been dropped into the waterway shortly after Mr Hughes' murder.

Officers believe the killers may have used a service road off Slacky Lane, behind The Dolphin pub, before dumping the stolen item from a bridge.

They are also appealing for an anonymous caller to get back in touch with them.

Mr Hughes was found with severe head injuries in the upstairs living quarters of the Royal Oak at 0900 BST on 27 April.

But he is known to have been alive at 0200 BST.

Earlier this month, two of Mr Hughes' daughters made an emotional appeal for help to find his killers.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact the incident room at Bloxwich police station.

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