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Richard Deakin (27) died after he was shot in bed in his Meadway Street home at around 8.30am on Monday 5 July.

Detectives from Staffordshire Police's Major Investigation Department are carrying out an extensive inquiry into his murder and are continuing to appeal for information.

Richard's mother Carol Deakin said: "I don't know how we're going to get through Christmas without Richard. He loved Christmas and would always arrive with all the family on Christmas Eve to stay with me over the Christmas period. We always spent New Year together too until Richard and Megan had their children.

"Ellie, aged four, and Jessica, aged two, have got their wooden advent calendars either side of their daddy's photograph, so that he can watch them enjoy their countdown to Christmas.

"Ellie believes that her daddy is always shining over her - the bright star in the sky. Ellie was delighted to be a shining star in this year's school nativity play because she thought she could be closer to him. It's really upsetting that the girls will spend their first Christmas without their daddy.

"On Christmas Eve we used to set the table together and put all the presents into a group for each family member on Christmas day. On Christmas morning we all used to wait to come downstairs together. Richard always had to go first with the video camera to film the children's surprise.
"Richard would laugh as he felt his gifts and guessed his presents before he opened them. He even bought presents for the dog.

"Richard also got involved in cooking the Christmas morning breakfast for us all and he would get dressed up for Christmas Day. This year, friends and family will find it really difficult to visit and share the loss.

"It's really upsetting that these are now only memories of sharing Christmas as a family with Richard, and can no longer be experienced.  We will really miss having Richard there to help his two daughters build and make their new toys. It will be really hard for us all. 

"Richard's Christmas present this year will be his new grave stone and the beautiful wording upon it.  It's the last thing we can do for him." 

Mr Deakin, who went to Cheslyn Hay High School, moved to Chasetown with his fiancee Megan in 2008 where they lived with Ellie and Jessica.

DCI Dave Garrett, who is leading the inquiry, said: "Christmas will obviously be a very hard time for Richard's family and we're continuing to offer them our full support.

"A dedicated team of detectives are progressing our complex investigation into Richard's brutal murder.  We're committed to catching Richard's killers and taking them off the streets.

"Anyone with information should ring us on 01785 233600 . Our officers will treat all calls sensitively and in the strictest confidence. Alternatively, if callers want to remain completely anonymous, they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 ."

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