Dead man’s family urge ‘key suspect’ in murder inquiry to hand himself in

PUBLISHED: 16:44 17 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:55 17 August 2017

James Atherley (left) and Callum Lees (right). Picture: West Midlands Police.

James Atherley (left) and Callum Lees (right). Picture: West Midlands Police.

West Midlands Police

The family of a man police believe was murdered are appealing for anyone with information as to where the ‘key suspect’ may be to come forward.

Callum Lees died on August 6. Picture: West Midlands PoliceCallum Lees died on August 6. Picture: West Midlands Police

Callum Lees died on August 6 following an altercation at a house party in Hopwas Grove near Birmingham.

West Midlands Police yesterday (Wednesday) launched an appeal to find ‘key suspect’ James Atherley, who has links with Weston-super-Mare.

A reward of up to £5,000 is available from Crimestoppers for information that leads to his arrest.

A statement released on behalf of Mr Lees family said: “Anyone who knew Callum knew he was a genuine, loving, caring person who always wanted to give to others.

“He was really hard working and worked with his dad six days a week.

“He always made sure that he looked after people and only a few days before he died, he helped a stranger he met in the street get home safely.

“He was a really sensitive boy and when he was upset he would always phone his mom, and said she always made him feel better.

“Every morning we wake up and we realise our son has gone Callum we’re never going to see him again.

“The only thing that keeps us going is knowing that we have to be there for our children and family, so we’ve got to get through this but our lives will never be the same again.

“To the person that has taken Callum from us, please do the right thing and give yourself up.

“We need some sense of closure.

“Please allow us to bury our boy.

If there are any family or friends out there who have any information and know anything or know of James Atherley’s whereabouts, please, please do the right thing and come forward.”

Three men, aged 18-21, have been bailed as enquiries continue but police are desperate to track down Mr Atherley, who they see as a ‘key suspect’.

Detective Inspector Jim Munro who is leading the investigation, said: “Our inquiries lead us to believe that James Atherley is no longer in the West Midlands and may have links to Weston.

“If anyone knows where he is, or has seen him in the last few days, I’d urge them to call immediately.”

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