Councillor urges people not to judge area after Lichfield murder verdict

Police at the scene following the murder of Michael Eccles in January 2009

Police at the scene following the murder of Michael Eccles in January 2009

A Lichfield councillor has called on people not to make assumptions about the Dimbles area of the city after two people were found guilty of murdering a father-of-five.

Twenty-year-old Carl Keatley of Greencroft, Lichfield, and 16-year-old Jordan Carroll of Windmill Close, Lichfield, were convicted of killing 43-year-old Michael Eccles following a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The case put the Dimbles area of Lichfield under nationwide scrutiny and even saw one local councillor describe the area as being “like Beirut”.

But Councillor Helen Fisher, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community, believes the murder should not be viewed as a representation of the entire community.

She said of the verdict:

“This is a positive result for the family and the community. When tragic events like this happen, it is very easy to jump to the conclusion that they reflect the community as a whole. But, we know from working closely with local people, both before and after Mr Eccles’ murder, that many people didn’t recognise where they live from some of the comments made in the national media, and were saddened by the way North Lichfield had been portrayed.
 
“We have a long history of working in partnership with people living in North Lichfield, and whilst they tell us there are some issues that need to be addressed, they also tell us they like living here and are proud to be part of their local community.  Following Mr Eccles’ death, we have brought forward some of our plans for the area, stepping up our visits to the Dimbles Lane shops, improving security, and enhancing the local environment. We’re also working with partners to improve facilities in the shopping area, including putting in CCTV later this summer.”

Cllr Fisher added that the aftermath of Mr Eccles’ murder had seen local people become more involved in decisions about the future of the area. She explained:

“Agencies have worked even more closely with local people, involving them at every stage of the work we are doing, including hosting community workshops and events. We’ve also worked to raise the profile of local activities for young people that take place in the area. Overall this work has had a positive impact and reduced the incidences of anti-social behaviour.  Looking to the future we will continue our programme of partnership working so that the community’s ongoing needs are addressed.”

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2 Comments

  1. Simon Morris

    12th August, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Despite the tragic death of Mr Eccles I definitely agree that the area is noting like the image in the National media. The vast majority of the people I come across are absolutely fine. I have even had a group of teenagers knock on my door to tell me I hasd left my car boot open. I would hate for the younger neighbours I have to think that they are being thought of in any way as being like the two who committed this horrendous & unforgiveable crime- because in my experience they are not.

  2. Duncan Edwards

    14th August, 2009 at 4:08 am

    Blatantly obvious a heinous crime,and the victims family(of Mr Eccles)will be in pain for a long,long time,and everyone will surely be there for them,offering their unreserved and needed support as it damn well should be! I know its very difficult to contemplate any thought or concern for the perpetrators family in such an awful case,and Mr Eccles family must clearly,and rightly come first.But please show a little empathy were you can for the family of the assaillants,that maybe difficult for some,I understand! I dont know to well The Family of Mr Eccles,or The Carroll family,But I know L B,as i fondly know her,and know the turmoil and heart ache,she will also be suffering,as well as her other sibling S!,This cant be measured comparatively,in know way,obviously! how could it but will still be great! please try and bare that in mind,just a little! bit,with your support for Mr Eccles family,God bless to them,in their time of uncomparable pain. Goid bless you all, D Edwards