Oxford murder overview: Man charged after author stabbed to death

A 50-year-old man has been charged with murder after an Oxford art and book dealer was found dead in the hallway of his Iffley Road house last week.

The body of Adrian Greenwood, 42, was discovered by his cleaner in his four-storey home last Thursday afternoon.

Michael Danaher, of Hadrians Court, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was charged on Tuesday evening.

He has been remanded in custody and is set to appear at Oxford Crown Court tomorrow after a hearing at Banbury Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

A post mortem carried out on Friday gave a preliminary cause of death as multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest.

Head of the Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit, Detective Superintendent Chris Ward, said on Saturday: “We believe that an altercation has taken place in the hallway of this house. The post mortem confirmed that Mr Greenwood died following a vicious and sustained attack.

“We are keeping an open mind in terms of motive and whilst we have already made an arrest in connection with this investigation, I anticipate further arrests will be made as the investigation continues.

“It is very likely that the offender may have injuries as a result of this altercation.”

Emergency services were called to the scene at 2.58pm on Thursday. Iffley Road was closed for more than 24 hours from Thursday afternoon until Friday evening.

Local policing area commander for Oxford, Superintendent Christian Bunt, said: “I would like to reassure that this type of murder is extremely rare in Oxford and we are doing everything we can establish the circumstances of Adrian Greenwood’s murder.

“We have also undertaken some house to house enquiries, with more house to house enquiries expected to be carried out over the coming days.

“Our condolences and thoughts are with Mr Greenwood’s family at this difficult time. They have asked that their privacy is respected.”

A 26-year-old man was also arrested at about 10.20pm on Thursday but was released without charge on Saturday afternoon.

The last sighting of Mr Greenwood before his death was at Sainsbury’s supermarket in Oxford Road, Kidlington, at about 6pm last Tuesday.

Police are appealing for anyone with information about Mr Greenwood’s associates, or anyone who had a personal or business engagement with him in the last few weeks, to come forward.

Timeline of events

Tuesday, April 5

6pm: Adrian Greenwood is spotted on CCTV (below) at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Oxford Road, Kidlington, at about 6pm.

Thursday, April 7

Afternoon: Mr Greenwood is found dead in the hallway of his Iffley Road home by his cleaner.

2.58pm: Police and ambulance service called. Mr Greenwood is declared dead at the scene.  A police cordon is set up and Iffley Road is closed to traffic.

5.26pm: Police confirm a body was found at the property and that they are investigating the ‘unexplained death’.

10.20pm: 26-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder

Friday, April 8

11.54am: Police confirm they are treating the unexplained death as suspicious and appeal for anyone with information to come forward.  A post mortem is scheduled to take place at 2pm.

10.30pm: Post mortem concludes and gives preliminary cause of death as multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest.

Saturday, April 9

2.23pm: Police reveal the victim as historian and art dealer Adrian Greenwood, 42, of Iffley Road and announce a murder investigation has been launched.

7.46pm: Police confirm they have released 26-year-old man without charge on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, April 10

11pm: 50-year-old Michael Danaher, from Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, is arrested on suspicion of murder in Peterborough.

Tuesday, April 12

Evening: Police charge the 50-year-old man from Peterborough, Michael Danaher, with murder.

Wednesday, April 13

Afternoon: Danaher appears at Banbury Magistrates’ Court and is remanded in custody . He is to appear at Oxford Crown Court tomorrow, April 15.

Embroiled in a row

Adrian Greenwood, 42, attended the independent preparatory Hawthorns School in Bletchingley, Surrey, and Tonbridge School in Kent.

He later went on to study philosophy, politics and economics at Christ Church, Oxford, before studying for an MBA at Imperial College, London.

After leaving Imperial, he began buying British Rail lost property, including umbrellas, mobile phones, coats and prams, to sell at car-boot sales around London – a move which saw him move into the field of art dealing.

In 1998, he contributed his first article to the Antiques Bulletin  magazine and went on to write for a number of antiques and collectables magazines.

Two years later, Mr Greenwood began selling books online and accumulated five garages full of 25,000 books, until he began dealing in rare and antique books.

Mr Greenwood became embroiled in a row with Harry Potter author J K Rowling after buying a number of the writer’s personal items, including a drawing Rowling had done of a little boy, a hand-coloured invitation to her daughter’s second birthday party and a list of potential character names for the first Harry Potter book.

He was approached by Rowling’s literary agents when he put the items up for sale on eBay, who accused him of breaching copyright.

In November 2010, Mr Greenwood had his first edition Harry Potter book stolen from a gallery in Woodstock while it was on loan there.

He appeared on BBC and ITV to warn the thief how difficult it would be to sell the edition, and it was later abandoned outside a Boots cosmetics shop in Abingdon.

Mr Greenwood retired from dealing books to focus on writing historical books, with his first book, Victoria’s Scottish Lion, being published in 2015.

His historical works focus mainly on 19th-century British military history.