Derrick Vassell and Clare Sly

Police name man and woman in Birchills gun deaths

Derrick Vassell and Clare Sly

Detectives investigating the deaths of a man and a woman in Birchills, Walsall have formally named them as Clare Sly aged 39 and Derrick Vassell aged 43.

DI Michaela Kerr from Force CID said: “Following extensive investigations and the results of a post mortem, we can confirm the death of Derrick is being treated as murder.

“We continue to investigate the exact circumstances of how Clare came to sustain her fatal gunshot injury.

“Enquiries are very much ongoing but one line of enquiry is that Clare took her own life.”

Derrick’s family gave the following tribute: “Derrick was a much loved member of the family who will be deeply missed.”

Clare’s mother Eileen also paid tribute to her daughter by saying: “Clare was a loving mother to her three sons and was widely respected and popular with everyone that knew her.”

An extensive investigation was launched after police were called to a house on Laneside Gardens, Birchills at 1.37am on Friday 8 June, after ambulance crews were called to two people with serious gunshot injuries.

A forensic post mortem revealed both victims died as a result of gunshot wounds to the chest. Derek suffered two gunshot injuries, while Clare suffered one gunshot injury.

Whilst Walsall Police await further specialist test results, the 23 year old man and a 22 year old woman who were arrested in connection with the deaths remain on police bail.