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Last Updated: Friday, 16 May, 2003, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Family appeal over publican's murder
Michael Hughes
Michael Hughes died from head injuries

The family of a murdered pub landlord from the Black Country have appealed for help in finding his killers.

Michael Hughes' body was found by cleaners in his bedroom at the Royal Oak in Pelsall, near Walsall, on 27 April.

A post-mortem examination showed the 59-year-old divorced father-of-five died from head injuries following an attack.

On Friday, two of Mr Hughes' daughters appeared at a news conference at Bloxwich Police Station and said the death of their father had devastated the family.

'Horrific attack'

Lisa Hadgcraft, 37, and her sister, Sharon, 40, who did not want to reveal her surname, told reporters their father had been "cruelly" taken away from them

Reading from a statement on behalf of the family, Ms Hadgcraft said: "Nothing will bring our dad back.

"But finding the person or people who did this horrific attack could maybe let us start to grieve for our dad instead of having sleepless nights thinking about how and why this happened to us.

"It's hard to express in words how much dad's loss meant to us all. All our family plans for the future have been cruelly snatched away from us."

Police believe Mr Hughes may have been the victim of a robbery.

His pub had been broken into, several rooms searched and a safe, which may have contained a small amount of cash, was stolen.

Extended search

The former TV and video shop owner, who was a special constable when he was younger, had entertained a few friends after closing time the night before he was found murdered.

Detective Inspector Mick Moore of West Midlands Police, who is leading the investigation, said officers had established he was alive between 0130 BST and 0200 BST after his guests had left.

Mr Moore said the search for more clues, including any weapons used, was to be extended along a two-mile stretch of Pelsall Common.

He also appealed for information about a small cream van with rails along the roof, which was seen near the pub at about 0700 BST on the morning that Mr Hughes' body was found.

Mr Moore said there had been a "tremendous response" from local people in the area, including a businessman who has offered a 1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the murder.

The BBC's Catherine Mackie
"Michael Hughes fulfilled a lifetime ambition when he became the landlord of his own pub"

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