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Cradley Heath murder probe: First picture of victim as community reels from violent attacks

By Jordan Harris | Cradley Heath | Crime | Published:

A father murdered at his Black Country home has been named as a community reels from a violent spree of attacks.

Martin Briggs, inset, named locally as the victim as police continue to investigate at the scene

The victim, named locally as Martin Briggs, aged 47, was found dead at the home in Corngreaves Walk, Cradley Heath, on Monday morning.

He had multiple stab wounds.

The discovery followed a night of violence where a series of other attacks took place at homes nearby including in Poplar Close, Dingle Avenue and West Avenue.

Police said the attacks involved a knife and a metal bar.

A man arrested on suspicion of murder was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

The 43-year-old was arrested from a vehicle in a car park in Oldbury at 6.20am on Monday morning.

He was also arrested on suspicion of the three separate assaults which happened from around 4pm on Sunday.

None of the victims received life threatening injuries and are understood to have known their attacker.

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Following the man’s arrest, the body of another man, believed to be Mr Briggs, was found with fatal stab wounds at a property in Corngreaves Walk.

It is believed that he had been killed some time the previous evening.

Map showing locations after series of violent attacks

Locations of the attacks and where police made an arrest

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A resident in Poplar Close, who did not want to be named, said he saw drama unfolding on Sunday and called news of subsequent attacks ‘scary’.

He said: “It is usually a very quiet cul de sac where not much happens but on Sunday I heard commotion, someone was dragged out of their house into the street and attacked.

“The police had already had a call about this when I called them.

"Apparently whoever did this then went on to other areas and attacked other people is scary.

“Police have been here since Sunday and only left this morning.”

Another Poplar Close resident said: “The police have only just left, there was trouble on the street and somebody was hurt, there were ambulances out and out street was taped off.

“Nothing really happens here but it has just gone from zero to 100.”

A neighbour in Corngreaves Walk said: “We got back home and it was chaos with all of the police and ambulances.

“We don’t know what has happened, nor does my neighbour, which is worrying for us, you hear different things but we haven’t been told anything officially.”

After laying flowers at the scene with a card that read ‘RIP Bro’, close friend Stuart Archer, 38, said: “I cant believe what has happened, I thought it was a sick joke, or a mistake.

“I have known Martin for 30 years and he was the nicest person you could ever meet.

“He was caring, friendly, funny and had love for his friends and family.

“I was only with him the weekend and even though he had recently had his car taken, he was in good spirits, laughing and joking.

“It doesn’t feel real what has happened, I don’t know when it will.”

Mr Archer said that the victim was a father-of-four but had lived on his own at Corngreaves Walk over the last few years with his dog.

Another friend, Kieron Ratcliffe, 23, said: “He was always laughing and joking, he had a very dry sense of humour.

“He wasn’t a drinker or a drug taker. He would just stick to the tea or coffee if you offered him a can of lager.

“He also loved going out to play bingo and he just didn’t have a bad bone in his body.

“He was a true friend and even though we aren’t a big circle, we were like family,” he added.

Jordan Harris

By Jordan Harris
Senior Reporter - @JHarris_Star

Reporter covering Staffordshire/Walsall - also a keen gig goer

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