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Michael Anton O’Connor: Family pay heartbreaking tribute to murder victim as nine convicted in court

The family of Michael Anton O’Connor say they are relieved that justice has been served after nine gang members were found guilty of his murder today (12 June 2023).

Following the verdicts, the family described him as “an inspiration to all who knew him” and that he’d be “forever in our hearts”.

Here is the family’s statement in full:

On 10 November 2021, Michael Anton O’Connor, known by his family and friends as Anton, was tragically and senselessly taken away from us. This is the date our never-ending nightmare began.

That day our family’s lives changed forever as we learnt in the hardest possible way that losing a loved one is a journey and not a one-off. In Anton’s short life, he was a much-loved Son, Brother, Grandson, Nephew, Uncle, Cousin and dear friend to many. After his untimely death, Anton became the father to his first child, a daughter who sadly will never have the opportunity to see, hold, love and share his life.

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We have all come to realise; you don’t just lose someone you love once, you lose them over and over, sometimes many times a day. Every time you open your eyes, as you awaken, so does your memory, and so does the realisation which rips into your heart, that Anton is gone. The loss is endless, to this feeling there is only a learned skill of how to stay afloat until it washes over.

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It has been over 18 months, 81 weeks and 572 days of trauma. Life is no longer about living, it is existing. We managed the bare minimum each day whilst waiting to find out the truth of what happened to our Son. The family are relieved to know that justice has been served. We now know those responsible for Anton’s death will not be in a position to pose a risk to the public for some considerable time.

Anton was a bright and articulate young man in the prime of his life, he had his whole life ahead of him. He was fearlessly ambitious, creative and tenacious. He had an infectious personality, people were drawn to his positive energy, he wasn’t your average Joe and his life reflected that.

Anton was born in Nottingham and lived in Alexandra Park. He was known for his cheeky smile and loveable laugh, as he grew up he never lost his sense of humour. He appreciated good food, nice cars and tailored fashion. His Sunday best was his Monday best and that is how he will be remembered.

Living a fun and progressive life, Anton’s final profession became Aesthetics. He trained as an Aesthetics Practitioner and Trainer, described by his Academy Teacher as “a pupil with natural ability”. Anton founded his own clinic and training academy “The Clinic Cosmetics Academy” based in Colwick, where the academy’s ethos was “the clouds are the sky’s imagination”. The family were extremely proud of his achievements.

To Anton family always came first, he was the heart and glue of family life. In his death he is the family’s fallen limb, his loss is incomparable. We are grateful and blessed to have shared the experience of loving and being loved by him.

Anton’s loyalty to his family, friends and loved ones was a distinct and valued part of his character, we believe his kindness, wanting to help and loyalty resulted in his death.

Anton was stabbed in his heart, he died in horrendous circumstances not surrounded by those he loved, no chance for goodbyes or one last I love you. His murder has stolen every single day which ordinarily brought our family joy, numerous birthdays, two Christmas’s, two Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and 81 Sunday dinners to date. He is missed every single day, these feelings for his family and friends have not faded and never will.

The impact on the wider community has been devastating and our family have been overwhelmed with extended kindness, love and support during this time. We have been met with tears, tributes and over 400 hundred people poured into Wilford Crescent West for his Vigil to pay their respects at the location he took his last breath. Although Anton was only 31 years old at the time of his death, his funeral was attended by over 600 people. For all who have shared Anton’s remarkable journey through life, we thank you.

The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the Major Crime Unit of Nottinghamshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge and his team have worked tirelessly to investigate Anton’s murder and to bring the individuals responsible to justice. A special thank you to Adrian Langdale KC, Johnathan Cox, DS Eley, PIO Evans and DC Kimberley for their outstanding work and unwavering support throughout this time.

The family would also like to thank the Jurors who have shown sincere commitment and dedication throughout this lengthy and turbulent trial. This 9 month part of the judicial process has taken the jurors on their own journey and their memory of what happened to Anton is something which no doubt will have impacted them.

The Victim Support Service at Nottingham Crown Court are a credit to the service. We value and wish to thank you for your support.

In loving Memory of Michael Anton O’Connor

05.12.1989 – 10.11.2021

An inspiration to all who knew him, forever in our hearts.

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