Mainway murder victim memorial mystery

The memorial plaque on Mainway, Skerton which has been maintained by a mystery Good Samaritan.
The memorial plaque on Mainway, Skerton which has been maintained by a mystery Good Samaritan.

The daughter of a murder victim wants to track down a stranger who has been tending to his memorial - 20 years after her dad was brutally attacked and killed.

Allan Curtis was beaten to death with his own guitar case as he walked home with a friend in Mainway, Skerton, in December 1996.

Allan Curtis was killed on Mainway in 1996. A memorial plaque to him has been maintained by a stranger for 20 years.

Allan Curtis was killed on Mainway in 1996. A memorial plaque to him has been maintained by a stranger for 20 years.

His devastated family erected a memorial plaque on the side of a building on Mainway and tried to rebuild their lives.

But nearly 20 years on his daughter Vicki said: “This kind hearted person and stranger to our family has not only kept the plaque clean and graffiti free all these years but they have also placed a flower box and an ornamental bicycle on the wall too.

“I would love to try and find this kind person, as it has helped my recovery more than they could ever know. “Knowing my dad’s memory lives on in Lancaster is wonderful.

“A year after his death we were permitted to fix a memorial plaque to one of the out buildings in Mainway, as this place didn’t hold great memories I chose not to return to that place until recently.

“It is like my negative place became beautiful all because someone still cares.

“Since seeing my father’s awful injuries I have suffered a long time with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression, so after doing intense therapy to rid me of these awful thoughts and flashbacks I was advised to visit Mainway and follow my father’s route.

“I did just that and the picture that confronted me at the plaque place was astonishing.”

Vicki was 14 at the time her dad was killed and her sister was 15.

Her other brother and sister were just two or three-years-old at the time. She said: “It happened on the Sunday night and we were living in Barrow at the time, my dad was working in Lancaster from Monday to Friday. The police came to the door and spoke to my mum and I thought the police were there to tell me off.

“They told us my dad was not going to make it so we sat with him all day at the hospital.

“They turned the machines off at 6pm.

I never dealt with it, I never grieved, all I could think about was my dad’s face with footprints on it and bruises from the aluminium guitar case.

“I kept thinking everyone who got close to me was going to die.”

Vicki, 33, is now married with three boys and lives on the Furness Peninsula.

Speaking about her dad’s killers, she said: “I’m not bitter, I feel like they were stupid teenagers doing stupid things. I don’t think about them in a bitter way, I want to live a better life.

“They got life for what they did and have since been released.

“I can’t thank the people who have looked after the memorial enough, they have helped my recovery.

“I’m not scared of Lancaster any more. I’m definitely coming to terms with it, I can now progress and see a positive future.

“It’s fantastic and I’m so grateful to them for keeping the memorial alive.”

Father-of-four Allan Curtis, 34, was beaten to death with his own guitar case as he walked home with a friend in Mainway, Skerton, in December 1996.

The following summer, Peter Elias Thomas, then a 20-year-old serving soldier in the King’s Own Border Regiment, and fellow soldier Darren Lee Rae, 18, were convicted of the brutal killing.

Thomas and Rae were on leave from the Army when they assaulted Mr Curtis.

After being dared by Thomas, Rae ran up behind Mr Curtis and his companion Andrew Parker as they walked home from Lancaster’s Crown Inn and knocked him to the ground.

Both men then began kicking him in the head and face as he lay on the pavement, before Thomas took Mr Curtis’ electric guitar and hit him on the head with it.

He suffered serious brain damage and died later that day.

Andrew Parker was also assaulted in the incident and Thomas received a separate sentence for causing grievous bodily harm.

Allan Curtis and Andrew Parker were both from Barrow but had been working at Celtech on the Lansil Industrial Estate and lodging in Ashbourne Drive, Skerton.

Peter Elias Thomas and Darren Lee Rae are believed to have been released from prison on life licence, according to Allan Curtis’ family.

The Ministry of Justice said it could not comment on individual cases.