New graffiti evidence released as detectives continue to investigate 40-year-old murder case

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Northamptonshire Police has released new images as part of their re-investigation into the 1979 murder of a Northampton teenager, following a BBC Crimewatch appeal for information.

A murder investigation was launched in April 1979 after the body of 15-year-old Sean McGann was found in an alleyway at the back of Birchfield Road East, Abington, on the morning of Wednesday, April 18.

Detective’s reopened the case earlier this year on the 40th anniversary of Sean’s death, in the hope that new evidence and advances in forensic techniques may help identify his killer.

In April, a letter addressed to Sean’s family from someone claiming to have important information about who killed Sean, was released by detectives in a bid to try and identify who wrote it.

Officers reviewing old crime scene photos have now released further images showing chalk graffiti of the words ‘very sorry’ and ‘no I’m not’, which were written on a wall near where Sean’s body was found.

Detective Chief Inspector Ally White, who is leading the investigation, said: “As part of the review of the case, we have re-examined some of the original crime scene photos. We can see that just above where Sean’s body was left in the alley, there were two pieces of writing.

“We know this information has not been released before and it may not be relevant. But it could be extremely relevant.

“I would like to encourage members of the public to take a look at the writing – do you recognise it? Do you remember seeing or hearing anything out of the ordinary in the area of Birchfield Road East on the night of Tuesday, April 17 or the following morning, just a couple of days after Easter?

“Forty years is a long time, and the person or people involved may or may not still be alive. But I strongly believe there is somebody within the local community who knows what happened to Sean on the night he was murdered, and I am urging anyone who has any information to do the right thing and contact the police.

“We also have the letter that was sent to Sean’s parents. The writer of that letter remains anonymous but we believe they had some important information about the crime. Again, anyone who knows anything about it is urged to get in touch.

“Discovering the identity of who wrote either the graffiti or the letter may just be that crucial final piece of the puzzle.”

Sean was last seen after he left his grandparents’ in Victoria Gardens between 5.30pm and 6pm on Tuesday 17 April to go to the fair at Midsummer Meadow. It is uncertain whether or not he arrived at the fair and if he did, he may only have been there for a short time.  

Sean’s body was found the following day, Wednesday, April 18, approximately two miles from the fair and Midsummer Meadow, at the back of Birchfield Road East. Detectives believe he was killed elsewhere and taken to this location sometime between 6.45am and 8.10am. His jacket and glasses were missing and have never been found, and his shoes and belt had been left a short distance from his body.

DCI White added: “Sean’s parents and his sister and brother have spent 40 years not knowing what led to their son and brother’s death or who was responsible. If you have any information that may help, however small, please call us.”

Anyone with information should call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or if they prefer to remain anonymous, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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