Tony Miller: The day I found my brother dead is a day I can’t forget
- Credit: James Bass
It is a sequence of events Tony Miller relives every day as dark clouds descend on him with merciless regularity. At 7.30pm on a bitterly cold, wet Sunday, he is returning home along the mazy passageway to Camden Place, in Great Yarmouth.
Reaching the front door of number 10, a chilling sense of foreboding comes over him.
It is ajar and when he pushes it open he makes out a lifeless form on the floor of the kitchen, which is in darkness.
Instinctively, he tells his wife of two months, Paula, and teenage sister Kerry, who are with him, to run next door and summon help.
Then he steps across the body to turn on the light and makes the shocking discovery it is his elder brother, Peter, 'face down with a substantial amount of blood around him'.
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In his confusion, Tony does not yet realise Peter has been stabbed in the chest, a blow which has severed an artery and cut his windpipe, but he knows immediately he is dead.
More than 28 years after that fateful winter's evening – December 9, 1984 –the questions 'who?' and 'why?' are never far from his thoughts or those of his sister, Linda Kevern, and elderly mother, Sylvia.
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And the loss of a family-centred man who, at 24, had scarcely started out on his life's path, forever changed the destiny of his loved ones in untold ways.
Tony, 51, a plumber, of Suffolk Road, Gorleston, said: 'It affects you every day. Sometimes I shut off from it but other times I can't shut off from it.
'I am self-employed and I don't think I could hold down a job working for someone else. I have good days and bad days and some days I don't feel like going to work.'
Mother of four Linda, 57, of Barkis Road, Yarmouth, blinks back tears as she recalls the brother who 'loved his football but most of all his family'.
She said: 'He was always round here with the kids. He used to play football with my son, Grahame, who was four then, and go jogging with him.'
The devastation wrought by his brutal death was such that it was only three years ago that Linda, a cleaner, found the courage to walk within sight of Camden Place.
'I was out with a friend and suddenly I realised where we were,' she said.
The chain of consequences is most poignantly highlighted by the cruel life change for Peter's girlfriend.
Linda said: 'She found out she was pregnant three weeks after he was killed. Over the years we have tried to keep them both out of it all.'
A hard upbringing for the Miller siblings saw five of them, including Tony, Peter and Linda, spend several years in care. Tony and Peter stayed together with various foster parents and at a children's home while they continued their education at schools in Gorleston and nearby Belton. They returned to their mother in Barrack Road, Yarmouth, when they were in their teens.
Tony said: 'I got married in October 1984 and Peter was my best man. He came to live with us from June of that year to help him along and help us out.'
On the morning of the murder, Tony remembers they kept to their normal Sunday routine.
He said: 'My wife and I got up at about 11am and we went to Gorleston to visit her sister for lunch and go on to the crematorium afterwards.
'We had lost our stillborn daughter in August and it was part of our routine to go to the crematorium.
'Sometimes Peter came with us but he wanted to stay and watch football later that afternoon.'
Recalling again the horrific scene they returned to following a very normal Sunday out, he remembers 'a smell of gas' in the kitchen which was later thought to be CS spray.
He said: 'There were very few signs of a struggle, nothing had been knocked about and nothing was out of place. I can only think the murderer left the door open to avoid making a noise.
'I believe without a doubt Peter knew the person who did it because he must have answered the door and let him in. It would have to be someone with knowledge of the locality because the house is so hard to find.'
Tony, divorced and now with a new partner, Alison Hill, still feels the heartache of having to wait six months for Peter's funeral service.
Linda still visits Gorleston crematorium to pay her respects but for Tony it would be too painful.
Peter had been seen by a neighbour earlier in the afternoon and another local resident reported seeing someone outside the house. It is thought the attack happened some time after 5pm.
'There have been lots of theories over the years, but we are still looking for the reason it happened,' said Tony. He believes recent progress in the case after nearly three decades is down to publicity surrounding the suicide of garage owners James Hall and Andrew Ventham, four years ago. When they died they were the chief suspects in the murder of Derick Tempest who police believe was blackmailing them over allegations of child abuse.
Tony said: 'As they were our neighbours in Camden Place and we had a dispute with them at the time over a barking dog I thought there might be a connection with Peter's murder. I asked police to investigate the possible link, but I am now satisfied there is no connection.
'However, it was publicity from their inquest that led to someone contacting me with new information which is what police are working on now... I have had plenty of ups and downs over 28 years and won't get carried away. Life has to carry on,' he said. 'Someone being arrested or charged won't be the end of the story. It is only a conviction that will bring the justice Peter has never had.'