Daughter finds dad after ten years - four days after his death
A DAUGHTER who spent ten years looking for her long-lost father finally found him - just four days after he was killed.
Natalie Griffiths, 24, of Bridgend, was determined to track down the father she last saw when she was just four years old.
Shopworker Natalie finally found that her dad Steven Paynter, 46, had moved 60 miles away to Hereford - only to discover he was tragically killed just days before.
Natalie said: “Finding out where he was should have been a happy moment - I’d dreamed about how it would be.
“I’d wanted to know for so long but the reality was a bitter shock. I was heartbroken.”
Natalie was parted from Steven after the breakdown of her parents’ marriage in 1993.
She said: “I was only little but I remember him playing outside with me and carrying me on his shoulders. He was a good dad.”
With just a handful of memories, fading photographs and a name to go on Natalie trawled through online databases and even drafted in the help of the Salvation Army.
Natalie said: “I was so desperate for answers. Why didn't he visit? How could he just leave?
“As a teenager I saw all my friends with their dads and knew I was missing out on something.
“I tried everything I could to find dad, starting on Facebook and with family. I just wasn’t getting anywhere.”
Natalie had asked all her relatives if they had any ideas or clues where her father - who was also known as Wayne - had moved to.
And she was excited when her aunt Joanne Griffiths asked to see her with information about her father.
But her aunt sat her down to break the news that her father had moved 60 miles away in Hereford - but had been found dead.
Police had been trying to track down his next of kin after the death.
The police then informed Natalie on August 7 that jobless Steven had been found dead at an address in Hereford on August 3.
Natalie said: “I just couldn’t believe it. It felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.”
The shock forced pretty Natalie out of work.
She took time out of her job as a shop assistant in Peacocks to grieve and come to terms with the agony of knowing she would never see her dad again.
She then faced organising a funeral for the father she had barely known as an adult.
Natalie said: “I wanted to do it for him as a goodbye.
“I met friends of his at the funeral who told me I’d never been far from his thoughts - they reassured me that he talked about me all the time.
“That was nice but I’d have rather heard it from him. I will never know the answers now.”
Former factory worker Mr Paynter - known as Taffy to friends - was found dead by police called to reports of an attack at a house in Hereford.
Three people have been remanded in custody charged with his murder.
Stacy Hales, 35, Stephen Munn, 20, and Mark Edwards, 22, of Hereford, are due to appear at Worcester Crown Court in November for a plea hearing.