Death of Dr. Michael Meenaghan

51°43′12″N 1°12′19″W / 51.71999°N 1.20523°W / 51.71999; -1.20523

Michael Meenaghan
Died10 December 1994
Cause of deathBallistic trauma
Other names"Spike"
OccupationForensic scientist
Known forVictim of unsolved murder

Dr. Michael "Spike" Meenaghan was a forensic scientist at Oxford University who was shot dead through his kitchen window on 10 December 1994.[1][2][3] He was a lecturer at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology.[1][2]

Background edit

He was originally from Stirling and lived in Monks Close, on the Blackbird Leys estate in Oxford.[1] He had spent the previous four years researching molecular biology of proteins involved in cell adhesion.[1][2]

He was married but had separated from his wife.[1]

Neighbours said that he had increased security at his house, drawing curtains all day and keeping his doors locked.[1] He had also made his phone number ex-directory in the twelve months before his death.[1][2]

Day of Shooting edit

On 10 December 1994 around 4:30pm a 999 phone call was received.[1][2] The caller didn't speak but could be heard struggling to breath.[1][2] When police arrived at the house it looked secure, but they could see a man's body in the kitchen.[1][2] They broke in and found the body of Dr. Meenaghan on the floor with the phone off the hook.[1][2] His then-girlfriend arrived shortly afterwards, shocked to find the police there.[2]

Aftermath edit

Police followed several leads, including the possibilities of a hired hitman, or of mistaken identity, but no leads were found.[1][2] His work was uncontroversial and despite speculation the work had nothing to do with DNA fingerprinting.[1][2]

On the twentieth anniversary of his murder a reward of £20,000 was offered jointly by Crime Stoppers and Thames Valley Police, which was valid for three months.[3] His mother Pat said, "His death is always with me and there is not a day goes by when I don't miss him. We still don't know why someone would be so callous as to take his life and rob the world of a lovely man and a gifted scientist."[3] Police said there was no clear motive for the shooting.[3]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Boggan, Steve (12 December 1994). "Hitman theory after Oxford lecturer shot". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bennett, Will (13 December 1994). "Police question ex-girlfriend of gun victim". The Independent. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Oxford University scientist murder: Police offer £20k reward". BBC News. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2020.