Barry Thomas killing: fresh appeal over death of man found with severe head injuries in Old Trafford park

Detectives have returned to where the 51-year-old was found unconscious in Old Trafford eight weeks on to appeal once again for public help to find the person responsible.
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Police have issued a fresh appeal for public help to find the killer of a man found unconscious with severe head injuries in a Greater Manchester park.

Headley Barry Thomas, who was known as Barry, was discovered in Penn Park, off Maher Gardens in Old Trafford, in the afternoon on Monday 12 September. He died on Sunday 2 October, aged just 51.

Eight weeks from Barry being found in the park, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) returned to the green space to encouraged anyone with information about Barry’s death to come forward to help bring his killer to justice.

What happened to Barry Thomas and where is the police investigation up to?

Barry was the victim of a horrific attack and was found unconscious with serious head injuries in Penn Park at around 2.30pm on 12 September. He was lying on the ground next to a bench. He lost his fight for life almost three weeks later.

On Monday (7 November), eight weeks on from Barry being discovered at the green space, detectives from GMP’s major incident team were back there to try to find out more about what happened to him and to get assistance from the public.

The appeal for people to help police investigating the death of Barry ThomasThe appeal for people to help police investigating the death of Barry Thomas
The appeal for people to help police investigating the death of Barry Thomas

Posters showing Barry riding his bike shortly before he was attacked were put up at every entrance of the park and officers handed out more than 150 leaflets to people going in and out of the park as part of their daily routine in the hope that it would jog memories.

Information, including photographs and video footage, can be submitted through the dedicated GMP portal here. Any resident who was handed a leaflet on Monday can also use the QR code at the bottom to access the portal.

Alternatively, anyone who can help the investigation can ring police on 0161 856 1995 or use the Live Chat service on the GMP website, quoting log number 1983 of the date 12 September 2022. People can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

What have police said about the murder investigation?

Senior investigating officer, DCI Gareth Davies of the Major Incident Team at GMP, said: “This is a very busy park and we are confident there must be someone who saw Barry just prior to the assault, or indeed, even witnessed the assault. It was at a time of day when there was plenty of footfall in the park, with school and college pupils and people going about their daily business. So, we know for a fact that Monday 12 September was no different.

“We are encouraging anyone who may have seen Barry, or indeed the bike he was seen riding just prior to the vicious assault eight weeks ago, to come forward and speak to us. You can do this in complete confidence and we will treat the information you provide sensitively.

DCI Gareth Davies from Greater Manchester Police in Penn ParkDCI Gareth Davies from Greater Manchester Police in Penn Park
DCI Gareth Davies from Greater Manchester Police in Penn Park

“Barry’s family are trying to make sense of what has happened to him and are desperately searching for answers. It is our wish to be able to provide them with the information they need to be able to come to terms with Barry’s death and begin the grieving process.

“So if you were in or around Penn Park on Monday 12 September 2022 between noon and 3pm, please get in touch with us. You may not know that you have seen anything, but the information that you provide may be the key to solving this senseless and violent crime.

“If we can find out where Barry’s bike went after the attack, then this could also provide us with answers to some of the questions that we have.”