Simmering resentment from miners' strike may be key to killing

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The Independent Online

A former miner murdered in a suspected crossbow attack may have died because of an unresolved dispute with a man who was on the opposite side of the picket line during the coal strike 20 years ago, detectives said yesterday.

A former miner murdered in a suspected crossbow attack may have died because of an unresolved dispute with a man who was on the opposite side of the picket line during the coal strike 20 years ago, detectives said yesterday.

Keith Frogson, 62, who was discovered dead on the doorstep of his Nottinghamshire home after a violent attack 16 days ago, is believed to have been a member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) during a countrywidestrike in 1984.

The police have namedRobert Kelvin Boyer, 42, who was 22 at the time of the strike, as their prime suspect. Mr Boyer broke the picket lines during the strike and continued to work. He has not been seen since the murder.

It is now believed that a row between the two men on the 20th anniversary of the strike could have re-opened their bitter differences about the events of the 1980s and have led to Mr Frogson's death. Officers are searching records from the NUM and the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM).

Witnesses described how Mr Frogson, who had three children, was spotted having an argument with another man on the night of his death after spending the evening drinking at his local pub. He was found dead outside his home in Annesley Woodhouse. A post-mortem examination found that more than one sharp instrument was used in the assault.

Police have previously said that a crossbow found near to the scene could have been the murder weapon. They believe Mr Boyer could now be hiding in local woodland, where he was known to hunt animals on a regular basis, and may be armed with an air gun.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokeswoman said yesterday: "These men were both miners in 1984 during the strike. We know that Mr Frogson was on strike at the time and Robert Boyer worked in the mines. It is possible that they could have got into a dispute. "

Detectives yesterday also linked Mr Boyer with a fire at Mr Frogson's home 10 days after the killing. The ground floor of the house was destroyed in the blaze. Mr Frogson's daughter Rachel, 33, and her husband escaped unhurt.

Detective Chief Inspector Russell Foster reinforced earlier warnings about Mr Boyer and the threat he might pose if approached. "My warning to people in the area is not to let your children play alone because we cannot rule out that he could cause further harm," he said yesterday. "I would ask the public not to approach him but to contact the police if they see him.

"We want to speak to Robert Boyer in connection with the murder of Keith Frogson, and we urgently need to hear from anyone who knows him or who has spoken to him recently."

Mr Boyer is described as white, around 5ft 9in and of slim build. Police said he usually wears a baseball cap and dark clothing and may have a shaved head or very short hair.

* A 37-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man have been arrested in connection with the murder and released on police bail pending further inquiries.