Gardaí on alert as UK manhunt spreads to ferry ports

Detectives investigating woman’s murder are seeking Michael Foran (32) who has links to Waterford

June Jones, who was found murdered in her West Bromwich flat on New Year’s Eve, and her ex-partner, Michael Foran, who police are hunting for after he went missing following her death. Photograph: West Midlands Police handout/PA Wire

June Jones, who was found murdered in her West Bromwich flat on New Year’s Eve, and her ex-partner, Michael Foran, who police are hunting for after he went missing following her death. Photograph: West Midlands Police handout/PA Wire

 

An Garda Síochána and UK ports have been put on alert by British police as part of a full-scale manhunt to trace the partner of a woman found dead at her home.

Murder detectives at West Midlands Police are leading the search for “dangerous” Michael Foran, who is wanted in connection with the death of 33-year-old June Jones.

Detectives believe Mr Foran (32), who has family links to Waterford, may have travelled to Liverpool to try and catch a ferry across the Irish Sea.

Ms Jones, who had been in a long-term relationship with Mr Foran, was found dead at her flat in West Bromwich on New Year’s Eve.

The victim’s body was discovered when officers forced entry to her maisonette in Wyndmill Crescent at 2am on December 31st.

Family had reported her missing to police five days previously.

A post-mortem examination did not establish a cause of death but Ms Jones had been brutally beaten with a weapon, according to detectives.

Police have recovered an item believed to have been used in the assault, which is currently undergoing forensic testing.

In the latest development, a 34-year-old man from West Bromwich was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender on Thursday as it emerged Mr Foran had left the Midlands over the New Year period.

Security camera images, released as part of the inquiry, showed Mr Foran was in West Bromwich on New Year’s Eve.

He was then pictured on CCTV footage from an Esso petrol station in the Anfield area of Liverpool on New Year’s Day, wearing the same clothing.

Ms Jones had been reported missing by her sister on St Stephen’s Day, and in a statement her family appealed directly to Mr Foran to “do the right thing” and “hand himself in”.

Police have now asked for the public’s help, but warned people not to approach the 32-year-old and instead call 999 immediately.

The West Midlands force added that Merseyside Police had now joined the manhunt, while Border Force and the Garda were watching the ports and airports in the UK and Ireland.

Detective Inspector Warren Hines, of West Midlands Police, said Mr Foran, who was unemployed, and the victim had had a “difficult” relationship lasting about 10 years.

He added that at the time of Ms Jones’ death, the couple appeared to have been living together.

Mr Hines said: “We really need the help of the public to try and locate where he is.

“We know he was seen on New Year’s Day at an Esso garage in the Anfield area of Liverpool.

“And I would ask anybody who does see him, to contact the local police as a matter of urgency.

“He is, in my view, an extremely dangerous individual, and I don’t suggest that the public approach him.”

Mr Hines added that Mr Foran appeared only to have the clothes he was wearing and no ready access to either a vehicle, or money.

He appealed for the public’s aid, but also warned people who might have been considering helping Mr Foran, to think again.

Mr Hines said: “I really am at the point where I need the public’s help, tracking him down.

“I would just like to say to people, here or in Merseyside, if you are considering putting this guy up, giving him money, topping up his phone, or keeping him out of our way, then we will look to prosecute you.”

Mr Hines said: “June has lost her life, we suspect at the hands of somebody she should have been able to trust, in her own home — the place where she should have been able to feel safe.

“In my view it doesn’t really get much worse than that. He is the only person we are actively seeking.

“My message to Michael Foran is you are only delaying the inevitable by not handing yourself in. We will find you. You know you need to do the right thing.”

Mr Hines added the victim’s relatives had been left distraught.

He said: “June was clearly loved by them and the circumstances in which she met her death are really difficult to come to terms with.”

In a statement, Ms Jones’ family said: “We’ve been left completely devastated by June’s death.

“We now need anyone who knows where Michael is to get in touch with the police as soon as possible.

“If he sees this appeal, we’d appeal to him directly to do the right thing and go to the nearest police station and hand himself in.”

The West Midlands force has also referred its handling of the missing persons inquiry to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, which is standard procedure in such cases. - PA