A HARD-WORKING family man murdered on his way home in Sheffield had been working extra shifts to pay for his wedding, his boss has said.
Paint sprayer Simon Holdsworth, 36, was beaten to death last Monday night after catching a bus to his home in Hackenthorpe.
Players at his beloved Sheffield Wednesday wore black armbands for their Championship game against Bournemouth in tribute to the season-ticket holder.
South Yorkshire Police has released CCTV footage taken from the number 120 bus he was on in the hope of identifying passengers, especially anyone who saw him get off.
Mr Holdsworth caught the bus in Mansfield Road, Intake at around 11pm after finishing work.
He and another passenger got off in Birley Spa Lane about 15 minutes later and set off in opposite directions. Police believe he was attacked minutes after leaving the bus.
Mr Holdsworth’s body was found at 6.30am on Tuesday in a field opposite the bus stop.
He worked for 16 years at FBS Prestige and his manager Paul Essex said he was a much-liked, friendly and popular member of staff.
Mr Essex said: “During the last shift he ever did, Simon was in a bubbly and cheerful mood as he’d just that day booked the time off work for his wedding and honeymoon in August.
“He’d worked here for 16 years and was one of life’s grafters. Over the past few weeks he’d been working extra hours to save up for his wedding which we know he was really excited about.
“The entire workforce is absolutely devastated by what has happened. We haven’t just lost a colleague, we’ve lost a close friend. Simon was gentle, kind and loved by everyone. He would never have hurt anybody and I can’t understand why anybody would have wanted to hurt him.
“I would urge anybody with any information at all to come forward and tell the police. Whoever did this has to be caught and brought to justice.”
Detective Superintendent Phil Etheridge, who is leading the murder inquiry, said that tracing passengers and people near the bus stop is a priority.
“I believe people on the bus, or near the bus stop on Birley Spa Lane, may have vital information for us about his murder,” he said.
“Bus passengers and people near the bus stop may have seen or heard something that could provide the vital piece of information that will lead me to the person or people who attacked and killed Simon.”
Mr Holdsworth’s partner Carleen McKeown has made an appeal for public help in finding her partner’s killer or killers.
“Simon was a good man. He loved his football and he loved fishing but, most of all, he was a family man,” she said.
“He had played football and gone sledging on that field, as well as walking through it regularly on his way home from work.”
His mother Christine Holdworth said: “You protect your children all your life and the one time he really needed me, I wasn’t there.
“Simon was a loving, caring, bubbly man with a smile for everyone. We are such a close family and he was over the moon to be getting married.”
House-to-house inquiries are continuing and police are still searching in the area.
A Sheffield Wednesday spokesman said: “Simon, 36, was a dyed-in-the-wool Wednesdayite, a regular at home and away games, and will be sadly missed at Hillsborough.
“Everyone at Sheffield Wednesday sends their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Simon at this incredibly difficult time.
“Club officials laid a wreath on Simon’s seat in the North Stand on Saturday morning and the players will be wearing black armbands for today’s SWFC fixture.”
Anyone who was a passenger on the bus or who has any information about Mr Holdsworth’s murder can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.