Murder probe into dad’s death

James Harris Durkin
James Harris Durkin

A YOUNG father of three was killed after enjoying the Jubilee celebrations - sparking a police murder hunt.

James Harris Durkin was found with serious head injuries in Orpington, Kent, last Tuesday - having spent the day before at a barbecue with friends and family.

He was taken to hospital but died hours later after the heartbreaking decision was taken to turn his life support machine off.

Initially police did not suspect foul play but a subsequent post mortem revealed his injuries had been caused by a blow to the head.

The 21-year-old’s dad then met with police on Friday of last week where he was told the death was now being treated as murder.

Mr Durkin had left his Eastbourne home to attend a funeral in Orpington before spending the Monday catching up with friends in his former hometown.

It was in the early hours of Tuesday that he was discovered at the bottom of some stairs leading from one road to another, nearby to where he had been marking the Jubilee with pals.

And, since news of his death spread, many of his friends paid tribute to him on Facebook.

Among them was Megan Stacey who wrote, “Our house won’t be the same without you James! No more arguing with my mum over her always giving you a ciggy, no more pizza making or water fights. But you’re safe now. Your dad is missing you so much, the same as all of us. Sweet dreams xxx.”

Shonny Catling remembered his “cheeky lil grin” while Teresa Weir posted, “Today I woke up hoping the last two days was a bad dream. Sadly it was real. Love you, you little cheeky git.”

Amber Fahey described him as “a true hearted person that didn’t deserve to go,” and many others left their condolences to his family.

Flowers and football tops were also left outside his family’s home.

The Metropolitan Police has set up an incident room at Lewisham Police Station, with Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons leading the investigation.

Officers want to speak to anyone who was in the Court Road area of Orpington at the time of the attack and spokesman for the force said, “There were a number of people at the party which was in an area of adjoining residential premises.

“There were also, despite the early hour of the assault, people in the area going to or returning from work.”

Anyone with any information should call police on 020 8721 4961 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.