Date: 12 Jan 1989
Michael Fahey was found on waste ground at the corner of Ashley Road and Picton Road in St Pauls, Bristol on 12 January 1989 at about 8.30am.
He had been a homeless person and had been bludgeoned to death. It was said that he was well known in the area as a local tramp and that he had frequented the area for the previous ten years and the police appealed for anyone that knew him to come forward.
He was said to have been a heavy drinker.
It was said that his body had lain where it was found in plain sight for some time and that before it was known he was dead that several people had walked passed his body without noticing that he was dead. It was noted that by the time the police were informed a night of heavy rain had potentially washed away a lot of evidence. It was later said that it was not known how long he had been lying where he was found.
The police later estimated that they thought that Michael Fahey had been murdered between 9pm on the Wednesday 11 January 1989 and 2.30am on the Thursday 12 January 1989.
It was thought that he had last been seen alive in the area on the Tuesday and possible that he had also been seen at about 2pm on the Wednesday, the day before his body was found, drinking with a large number of people on the waste ground, about six or eight of them.
He had been wearing an old overcoat or grey jacket, jeans and brown shoes that were falling apart. He was described as 5ft 8in tall, of medium build, 33 years old, and with a gingerish beard.
His post mortem stated that he had extensive head injuries having been beaten to death with a blunt instrument.
It was also noted that it was not known whether he had been murdered where he was found or whether he had been murdered elsewhere and then dumped on the waste ground. It was also considered a possibility that he might have been attacked elsewhere and then crawled to where he was found or otherwise conveyed himself there.
The site where he was found was the site of a former Demolition Diner and at the time was a popular location for street drinkers.
The police said, 'He used to use the site during the day to sit and drink. People may have walked past him and thought he was just a drunk lying down and thought nothing of it'.
It was also noted that it was thought that one of the people that might have seen Michael Fahey without realising that he was dead on the Wednesday was a photographer who had been seen taking a photograph of tramps on the waste ground. It was thought that he might even have taken a picture of Michael Fahey without realising that he was dead, and the police appealed for him to come forward, but he never did. The photographer was described as being aged between 30 and 35. The police said that it was possible that his photographs might have contained important clues.
His murder enquiry was noted as having been an early user of a 'crime computer' to help solve the case, collating interview and reports etc, which was noted as having been rare at the time.
It was noted that a Local residents’ association chairman had complained about vagrants drinking at the site and lighting fires with rubbish on the day before Michael Fahey's body was found. She said that there had been a larger number of them than normal, about six or eight and that she had attempted to talk to them but said that she could get no sense out of them as they were all drunk.
The police said that they had received a call from a taxi-driver who had been asked by a woman to call the police about three youths she wanted arrested near the area, but they said that they were never able to establish who the youths were or what they had done or who the woman was.
The police said that they also had a call from a man who said that he had heard smashing glass on the night and had then seen two men leaving the area, but again the police said that that took them no further in their investigation.
It was said that during the investigation that the police had spoken to over 600 people that were known to had been near the spot or to have passed it or otherwise be associated with Michael Fahey's movements or death.
The police said that it was a difficult case as they had no leads and that there was no clear motive. It was suggested that he had been murdered for kicks.