Police are hunting the killer of a ‘vulnerable’ and brain-damaged man who was found brutally murdered in a town centre park.
Former barman James Attfield, described as ‘shy and polite’ by his family, had never fully recovered from a car accident four years ago.
His mother said he avoided crowded places and potential trouble spots and preferred a quiet life.
But the 33 year-old was found dead with fatal head injuries at dawn on Saturday in Lower Castle Park in Colchester, Essex.
Police have not yet revealed how he died but believe a ‘bladed weapon’ was used.
Paramedics were called but Jim, a former barman, was pronounced dead at the scene at 0630 on Saturday.
His mother Julie Finch, of Coggeshall, Essex, said: “James was known as Jim to his family and was always shy and polite.
“Four years ago Jim was involved in a car accident which left him with a brain injury and caused the left side of his body to be weak. The injury affected is reasoning and speech.
“Jim had always preferred going for a drink in a quiet ‘old man’s pub’ rather than clubbing and never had many friends his own age.
“After the accident he was vulnerable and did not like going to crowded places as he knew he needed to keep away from trouble to avoid any risks which could lead to further injury.
“Jim was never the type of person to look for a fight and would always back down or walk away.
“Even after his accident he was always smiling and continuously challenging himself.
“He wanted to be the best he could be and always pushed himself to assist his recovery.
“Jim was loved by all his family and will be missed. Jim was a son, brother and father.
“My family and I would like to be given the space we need to grieve in private.”
Police have mounted extra patrols in the area and warned people to stay vigilant as the killer remains at large.
They are appealing for help in piecing together James’ movements in the hours before his death.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Werrett said: “Castle Park is used at all hours of the day and night and I’m sure someone will have seen something.
“I really need to hear from anyone who saw anybody acting suspiciously in the park, anyone who heard anything untoward, or anyone who thinks they may know who is responsible for Jim’s death.
“Equally I would invite the person or people responsible to hand themselves in.
“We have not yet been able to establish a motive for this violent attack during which we believe a bladed weapon has been used.
“Until the post-mortem examination has been carried out I am unable to say what that weapon may have been or to elaborate on the injuries caused.”
Superintendent Steve Ditchburn added: “We remain concerned that we have not yet been able to trace the person or people responsible for this death.
“I would ask people to remain vigilant and to contact us if they see anything suspicious.”
A post mortem result is due to be carried out today.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the North Major Investigation Team on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.