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Victim's family's tributes to 'sensitive and generous' man

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

  • VICTIM: Paul Drury

  • GIRLFRIEND: Dawn Lewis

  • MURDER SCENE: Police at the property in Valley Path, Newton Abbot, where Paul Drury's body was discovered

  • KILLER: Brian Harris

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THE GRIEF-STRICKEN family of murdered Paul Drury have paid tribute to a 'sensitive and generous' man.

Parents Anne and Peter, who live in Wimple near Exeter, say they are still coming to terms with the loss of their 32-year-old son but can take comfort from the fact Harris is no longer at liberty and cannot pose a risk to anyone else.

Despite his educational difficulties, Paul lived independently in Valley Path, a house bought for him by his family.

His mum frequently visited his home — including in the week leading up to his death — to clean it, do his washing and offer him any support he needed.

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But his decision, made in good faith, to allow Harris and Ms Lewis to stay with him set in motion a catastrophic chain of events which resulted in his death.

In a statement, Mr and Mrs Drury said: "We are content with the outcome of the trial. For us, these proceedings have not been about revenge. Nothing can restore Paul to us.

"What we have been looking for through this prosecution is the protection of society; the long-term protection from the risk that Harris might, once again, unleash further relentless, brutal and lethal attacks on other undeserving victims.

"This has now been achieved.

"Despite his obvious problems, Paul was a sensitive and generous individual. Those who knew Paul will have seen through the series of lies told by Harris to save his own skin.

"The only act of betrayal that night was committed by Harris himself in his vicious assault on someone good enough to provide him with a roof over his head.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those agencies and teams involved, initially at the crime scene and thereafter in investigating the case and contributing to this successful prosecution.

"It can not have been easy but we applaud the efforts of each and every one.

"We would also like to wish Miss Lewis all the best with her recovery.

"We have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received. Not a day has passed since those horrendous events when we have not thought of Paul, sustained by tales of his friends. He will remain in our hearts forever."

The investigation was conducted by Devon and Cornwall's major crime investigation team based in Ashburton.

Speaking yesterday, Det Supt Keith Perkins said: "The court heard that sex was the catalyst for the attacks. I believe this is another part of the tissue of lies we have heard from Harris throughout this investigation and trial.

"Harris is a violent man and, during this trial, it is an image that he appeared to enjoy. He targets vulnerable people and, in this respect, he is a coward."

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  • hughanchor  |  September 13 2012, 4:42PM

    All we can hope is that Harris has a terrible time in jail. I hope he is persecuted every day in the showers by large, aggressive, cons who take a fancy to him, and that he eventually decides that he can't take it any more. Evil, disgusting creature.

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