Jake Bailey-Sloan: Lack of witnesses ‘hard to take’ says heartbroken father of popular Portadown murder victim
The heartbroken father of murdered Portadown businesman Jake Bailey-Sloan says that no substantial witnesses have come forward is ‘hard to take’.
Jake was just 23 when he died after an incident outside a Portadown bar on Sunday October 17.
So far the police say there has not been a ‘significant number’ of people coming forward.
A popular young man, Jake started his own firm aged just 19 and was highly regarded as a people person, someone who helped out his local community.
At a special press conference close to the scene where Jake was injured at the junction of West Street and Mandeville Street, his parents gathered to appeal to the public to come forward.
Standing behind Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney, Jake’s mother Lee Ann Dreyer was shaking and being comforted by her partner Gordon. Also there was Jake’s father Ross Sloan.
Ross said: “The outpouring of support and tributes for Jake across Portadown and beyond has been unreal but, that there has been no substantial coming forward of witnesses on the night, is hard to take.
“If you seen anything at all over the course of the evening inside or outside please come forward.
“I know it’s not easy but please find the courage to speak to the police.
“Likewise if you know if your kids were out that particular weekend, talk to them and, if they have seen something, encourage them to come forward because we just need to know what happened. We need to know the truth.”
Ross said: “It’s not easy. I grew up in Portadown my whole entire life. I came to these premises ever since I was 18. It’s not easy and things have changed but we encourage people to come forward so we can find out exactly what happened.
“It is hard to process. We know there were hundreds of people there and we know people seen what happened. People are just relying on somebody else to come forward. If everyone relies on someone else coming forward then no body will. It is very frustrating.”
Asked what Jake was like, his Dad said: “Jake was one of a kind. For a 23-year-old, I don’t know where he got it from. He embraced life. He lived every day like it was going to be his last. It was a very difficult thing to do but he done it.”
Ross added that Jake would have been the first to come forward if he had witnessed anything like what happened to him.
“Jake was all about community. Jake was all about helping people. Jake was all about supporting people within Portadown and beyond. If people needed help, if people needed to find the truth about something that had happened, he would have come forward, no doubt.”
Detective Chief Inspector Darren McCartney said there had not been a ‘significant number’ of people coming forward and appealed for witnesses.
He said from CCTV footage there were a lot of people in the area at the time of the incident. He added that incidents had occured in licensed premises and in the streets locally on that night.
He said he was aware of at least one incident inside one licensed premises but at the minute he could not connect that to the later incident involving Jake.
He added they had cooperation from a limited number of witnesses but ‘our appeal today is that there are many, many more people who saw what happened on the street that night.
“We are asking them to come forward,” he said.
Asked why he believes there has been limited cooperation from witnesses and if there has been any intimidation or any paramilitary intimidation, the Detective Chief Inspector said: “No absolutely not, that is the first time I have been made aware of any suggestion of that. I just don’t believe people think that someone else is going to tell or they have got a bit of information but they don’t think it is significant. So it is any information that is significant.
“There is absolutely no connection to any form of paramilitary organisation at all.”
To those who have yet to come forward, DC McCartney said: “I would urge them to search their souls.”
He said they were also looking at CCTV footage from the night.
The DCI said: “The investigation team and local officers revisited the West Street and Mandeville Street areas of Portadown town centre again on Saturday and Sunday last weekend, to speak with people and distribute flyers appealing for information.
“Despite there being large number of people socialising in the area on Saturday 16th October into the early hours of Sunday 17th October, no additional witnesses have come forward to tell us what they saw.
“I know there were a number of altercations both inside local licensed premises and in the area of West Street and Mandeville Street during Saturday evening and into the early hours of Sunday 17th of October. I need anyone who witnessed any incident, no matter how minor they may have appeared, or anyone who was in the West Street and Mandeville Street areas of Portadown town centre, between 1:30am and 3:30am on Sunday 17th of October, particularly if they witnessed any fights or verbal disagreements in that area, to contact the investigation team.
“While we have examined CCTV footage and are aware of what happened, I need anyone with information, even if they think it might be irrelevant, to examine their conscience, come forward and tell us what they know.
“After going to enjoy a night out in town, a young man lost his life. His family and friends are grieving and deserve to know what happened.
“I am again appealing to those motorists who were in the area at the time, to come forward and make contact with Major Investigation Team detectives in Gough on 101, quoting reference number 569 17/10/21.
“A report can also be submitted online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/.”
Jake Bailey-Sloan: Tributes to young Portadown businessman ‘one of the kindest souls you could ever meet’