A FAMILY will this weekend pay their own special tribute to a young murder victim.
Relatives and friends of young Joe McCafferty are about to mark the 13th anniversary of his tragic death after an horrific arson attack in Huddersfield.
And they admit: The hurt never goes away.
It was on May 2, 1997, that the seven-year-old youngster went to bed at his aunt’s home in Marsh.
In the early hours of the following morning, an arsonist poured petrol through the letterbox of the house in Haywood Avenue.
Joe was badly injured and sadly died.
Now police are hoping that someone will come forward and provide them with the vital lead which could finally bring the killer to justice.
Joe’s sister Chantelle Cunningham said: “It still hurts as much without Joe.
“The pain of not knowing never goes away.
“At times like this it just hits home again what has happened and it takes us back to the time when we lost Joe.”
Police are hopeful that the election will trigger witnesses’ memories.
The fire in Haywood Avenue came on the night of the 1997 General Election, when Tony Blair swept to power in a Labour landslide.
Joe was staying with his aunt, Debra, when petrol was poured through the letterbox and set alight.
Joe and his older brother Nicky were staying at the house because their mother, Miss Tracey McCafferty, had been working away that week.
Nicky suffered serious burns in the fire, but Joe died from his injuries.
Miss McCafferty revealed last year she had considered taking her own life after Joe’s death.
She said: “Put yourself in my shoes – I wake up, Joe’s on my mind, I go to sleep, he’s still there.
“This is because I have no closure. Joe was innocent – he never hurt anybody.”
Joe would have been 21 years old later this year.
Det Supt David Pervin, from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, is now leading the investigation.
He, like the family, believes there is someone out there who could help.
“A little boy lost his life that night and someone is responsible for his death.
“Our inquiries are very much active and we are again calling on the public to help us bring this person to justice. The investigation will not end until the killer of little Joe is identified and brought to justice.
“Although it was 1997 when the incident happened, I would ask anyone who was in the area at this time to think back.
“Take a minute to consider whether there is anything you could tell us that might assist in our inquiries.
“Even the smallest piece of information could further the investigation and may be lead to other avenues that can be explored.
“We know that petrol was poured into the letterbox. This may have been carried in a green plastic petrol container and would make the person or persons carrying it quite identifiable.
“Do you remember seeing anyone or anything suspicious in the early hours?
“This was a deliberate act and there is clearly a reason behind it. Someone out there knows why this has happened. Those responsible have over the last 13 years probably confided in someone. If you are that person do the right thing and come forward.
“I also make a direct appeal to the person responsible. You have Joe’s blood on your hands and I am not sure how you live with yourself.
“The burden of guilt must weigh very heavy on you, It is time now to let Joe rest and for his family to take some comfort from knowing he is at peace.
Whilst ever you hide and maintain this terrible secret you will always be anxious, continually looking over your shoulder and wondering who it is who has come knocking at your door.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 0845 6060606 quoting the words “Operation Platinum” or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Alternatively, text a message to 07786200805.