THE family of a Blackpool man brutally murdered in Ireland said they were left “shellshocked” by news of his violent death.
John Forrester, 42, died in a frenzied attack with a knife or screwdriver plunged repeatedly into his face or neck.
His body was discovered in a river in Bandon, County Cork, with his hands and feet bound.
Mr Forrester’s aunt, Joyce Rivett, of Marton, who last saw her nephew in his 20s, described him as a ‘happy child’ who she wished she had known more recently.
The family have managed to track down Mr Forrester’s sister, Sharon, who was last believed to be living in Spain.
But it is not yet known if his father, also called John, has been told of his son’s death.
Mrs Rivett, told The Gazette: “John had been a loner most of his life, but the last I knew he was working in Spain as a ski instructor.
“He loved his job over there, I don’t know what happened, why he left Spain and moved to Ireland.
“We are gutted, devastated. When the facts were revealed how he died and how he would have suffered, we were very distressed, shell shocked.
“He loved his music, I remember him as a very happy child but obviously somewhere things have gone badly wrong, he was probably a mixed up lad.”
It is the third tragedy to hit the family – Mr Forrester’s mother died at a young age and his brother, Clayton, was tragically killed in motorbike accident.
Mrs Rivett said: “He was estranged from his family, I think of his own choice, as far as we know.
“It is always sad when families lose touch, I wish I had known him more recently.
“I remember him having quite a sense of humour and he was always happy. Rarely was John down.”
Mrs Rivett said Mr Forrester’s father lived in Blackpool and owned a bed and breakfast guest house off Dickson Road when his son was born.
She believes the family moved to Lincoln and then to Jersey before moving to Spain.
She added: “I believe my brother has managed to get in touch with John’s sister Sharon and she will probably deal with the funeral arrangements.
“It has been very difficult, people move around and move on, some perhaps don’t want to be found.”
Police in Ireland believe Mr Forrester was killed late on Saturday November 12 or early Sunday morning – with his body having been in the river for at least two days before it was found the following Tuesday. Scratches to his hands are believed to indicate he desperately tried to defend himself during a prolonged attack. Mr Forrester’s body was discovered just 36 hours after the body of Jonathan Duke, 27, was also recovered from the same river.
Mr Duke lived in a second floor flat at Bridge House, Bandon, while Mr Forrester, who was unemployed, had a ground floor apartment.
Locals who knew Mr Forrester, also known as ‘Johnny English’, say the town is devastated by his death.
n Catherine O’Connor, 35, and Ciprian Grozavu, 37, have been charged with the murder of Mr Duke.
The defendants, both from Bridge House in Bandon, have been remanded in custody to appear at Bandon District Court on December 16.