Neill Buchel murder: South African inspired by Spitfire pilot grandfather

Neill Buchel's grandfather Patrick Healey with mother Trish Kell

Neill Buchel's grandfather Patrick Healey with mother Trish Kell - Credit: Archant

Neill Buchel was inspired to move to the UK by his English grandfather – a spitfire pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain.

Neill Buchel (left) with grandfather Patrick Healey and wife Sharon

Neill Buchel (left) with grandfather Patrick Healey and wife Sharon - Credit: Archant

Following his parents’ separation, the dad-of-two lived in South Africa with his mum, Trish Kell, and maternal grandfather Patrick Healey, originally from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

“His grandfather would tell him stories of his war years, which Neill loved,” Trish told the Post, from her South African home.

“He was Neill’s only real male role model growing up.

“Neill always wanted to come over to the UK and we thought it was the best thing for him and Sharon, to start a new life.”


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A former nurse and charity fundraiser, Trish visited Neill in February last year – a month before his murder – and tried to get him to move back to South Africa.

“It was very obvious that something wasn’t right,” she explained.

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“His passport had expired so he applied for another one, but by the time it came, he was dead.”

A year on from the tragic events, Trish hopes she may be able to move on, although she admits nothing will ever be the same.

“The last year has been horrendous, but the trial was the worst.

“Reading the reports in the Post each day about what happened to his body has been horrible.

“Hopefully we can start to move on, although it has changed absolutely everything in my life.

“You look at everything with a totally different perspective, without emotions of joy or happiness.

“I think about him all the time. Half-three in the morning is the worst time, when you’re just sat up in bed, thinking and remembering.”

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