A homeless Birmingham man was battered to death as he slept in a bus stop in a sickening and motiveless attack, murder detectives have revealed.
Richard Williams received five or six devastating blows to the head, in what Det Insp Wayne Jones described as an “unprovoked” and “extremely ferocious” assault.
The 58-year-old was sheltering in the bus stop, near the junction of Barford Road and Dudley Road, Winson Green, when he was attacked shortly after midnight on Friday December 30.
As police released CCTV footage of a man they wanted to identify in connection with the murder, Mr Williams’ heartbroken sister Elaine Shipway said: “He didn’t deserve to have his life ended in this violent way.”
The CCTV footage was seized from a nearby takeaway and showed a man walking in and speaking to staff. He left after less than 15 seconds inside.
A short time later a motorist, driving along Dudley Road, spotted Mr Williams being attacked and stopped his vehicle to call 999.
The eyewitness then saw the assailant flee across the road towards Heath Street.
The passer-by helped paramedics and police as they battled to save Mr Williams. However, the victim died a short time later at hospital.
Det Insp Jones urged the man in the CCTV footage to contact police, adding: “We are keen to trace the man featured in the footage who we believe has crucial information to the investigation.
“Richard was sat in the bus stop, possibly asleep, when he was ferociously attacked.
“He was a homeless man who had fallen on hard times. His family was always very supportive of him and are devastated by the loss of their brother.
“I can’t see any motive for why Richard was attacked, no motive at all. He was sat in the bus-stop, minding his own business.
‘‘It could have been anyone of us waiting in that bus stop, maybe having been out or waiting for a bus to come along.”
A team of more than 30 detectives, with back-up from search teams and civilian staff have been assigned to the case.
Officers were yesterday continuing to examine CCTV footage from the area. A specialist search team also scoured a stretch of the Birmingham Canal in the hunt for clues.
Mr Williams was known to a number of hostels in Birmingham in recent times after becoming homeless when he developed an addiction to alcohol.
Mrs Shipway, said: “He was a quiet gentle man when he was not drinking and had never hurt anyone physically in his entire life, even when he was drinking.
“He was well known and had friends in the area when he was homeless. He didn’t deserve to have his life ended in this violent way. Please come forward if you know anything to help the police to catch his killer.”
Anyone with information should call the incident room, Operation Lorian, at West Midlands Police on the new non-emergency 101 number, or call the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111.