Daughter Found Long-Lost Dad After 10 Year Search - Four Days After He'd Been Murdered

14/08/2014 16:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

For 10 long years, Natalie Griffiths relentlessly searched for the father she hadn't seen since she was four years old.

She trawled through online databases for any information about her dad, Steven Paynter, who had left when her parents' marriage broke down - and she was thrilled when a member of her family finally managed to locate him.

But tragically Natalie's hopes of being reunited turned to heartache - when she discovered he had been murdered just four days before.

Natalie Griffiths, 24, from Bridgend, South Wales, said: "Finding out where he was should have been a happy moment - I'd dreamed about how it would be.

"I'd wanted to know for so long but the reality was a bitter shock.

"I was heartbroken to know he was murdered."

Steven, known as Taffy to friends, left the family home in 1993.

Natalie said: "I was only little but I remember him playing outside with me and carrying me on his shoulders. He was a good dad.

"I was so desperate for answers. Why didn't he visit? How could he just leave?

"As a teenager I saw all my friends with their dads and knew I was missing out on something.

"I tried everything I could to find dad, starting on Facebook and with family. I just wasn't getting anywhere."

Natalie asked all her relatives if they had any ideas or clues where her father - who was also known as Wayne - had moved.

And she was excited when her aunt Joanne Griffiths asked to see her with information about her father.

Her aunt told her that Steven had moved 60 miles away to Hereford - but had tragically been found dead and police were trying to track down his next of kin.

On August 7 police confirmed that jobless Steven had been murdered at an address in Hereford on August 3.

Natalie said: "I just couldn't believe it. It felt I had been kicked in the stomach."

She was then faced with organising a funeral for the father she had barely known as an adult.

Natalie said: "I wanted to do it for him as a goodbye. I met friends of his at the funeral who told me I'd never been far from his thoughts - they reassured me that he talked about me all the time.

"That was nice but I'd have rather heard it from him. I will never know the answers now."

Police were called to reports of an attack at a house in Hereford on August 3. Three people have been remanded in custody charged with the murder of the former factory worker. Stacy Hales, 35, Stephen Munn, 20, and Mark Edwards, 22, of Hereford, are due to appear at Worcester Crown Court in November for a plea hearing.


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