Police are launching a fresh appeal to catch those responsible for killing a gay man who was found dumped in a canal 12 years ago.

The MPS Murder Review team has reissued appeals for information about the murder of Paul Stevens, whose body was found floating in the Grand Union Canal, near the Hayes Bypass, Hayes, Middlesex, at 5.45am on Thursday, August 23, 1990.

A post mortem examination revealed he had been hit on the back of the head by at least two blows with a blunt instrument. There were no signs of a struggle or a fight and no indication that he had been robbed.

Mr Stevens was 33-years-old at the time of his death, and was gay. The motive for his murder has never been established, but police have not ruled out a homophobic motive for the crime.

It is known that Paul had sexual contact in the hours before his murder and this may be connected to the crime.

Paul was last seen at about 10pm on Wednesday, August 22 leaving the Chariot public house in Hounslow. Earlier in the evening, he had been at the Tankerville public house. Both pubs are in Hounslow High Street.

It is not known how or with whom he travelled the three or four miles to where he was murdered on the canal towpath. The location was later identified by officers.

Murder Review Officer Brian Bowden-Brown and Fred Stevens, brother of the victim, appealed on BBC Crimewatch on March 28 for any information which might lead to the killer.

Police are anxious to trace a potential witness named Martin, who drank in the Tankerville pub. He was aged about 25, possibly from Australia or New Zealand, over 6ft tall, with blond hair and of athletic build.

They would also like to speak to two witnesses who gave information at the time to get in touch.

One was named Elizabeth and she would now be about 35 years of age. At the time, she lived in Hounslow and was an occupational therapist. The other witness was Julie, who would now be about 30. She also lived in Hounslow and was a barmaid at the Hussar public house.

Paul Stevens was aged 33, 5ft 5ins tall, weighing about nine stone, with a full dark beard and dark hair.

On the night he died, he was wearing a pink shirt, a purple and blue striped jumper around his waist, grey/black patterned trousers, grey shoes and no socks.

There is a reward of £10,000 for anyone with information leading to the arrest of Paul's killer.

Contact 020 8284 9713, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Callers may also contact GALOP the London wide anti-violence project for gay, lesbian and bisexual people on 020 7704 2040.

April 4, 2002 18:00