Hunt for killers after young man 'senselessly' murdered

A young man stabbed to death during a clandestine night-time rendezvous was likely a victim of a drug deal gone wrong, police say.

William Holdback, 21, was found with critical injuries on Barrpowell Street, a quiet cul-de-sac in Adelaide's western suburbs abutting the River Torrens, after a group of nearby musicians heard screaming and shouting about 1.30am on Wednesday.

Despite the musicians' best attempts to revive him, Mr Holdback died at the scene.

Police probe murder scene in Adelaide.
William Holdback was found critically injured in an industrial area of Adelaide's western suburbs.

Police believe he arrived at the spot where he was found on foot from his home in nearby Flinders Park after arranging to meet his eventual killers.

Given the hour and the industrial location, it has "all the appearance of a clandestine meeting", Detective Superintendent Des Bray said.

"That, together with some other information we've obtained, makes us believe that it was to do with either a drug deal or the recovery of money," Det Supt Bray told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

SA Police believe 21-year-old William Holdback was murdered in a suspected drug deal gone wrong.

CCTV footage obtained by police shows Mr Holdback arriving at the scene first, carrying a skateboard.

Soon after, a dark, four-door sedan pulls up and the occupants of the car talk with Mr Holdback.

"We know that that conversation became heated," Det Supt Bray said.

"As a result, Will ran from the car back along Musgrave Street a very short distance and then south on Barrpowell Street pursued by a man from that vehicle.

"We know that that man caught up with Will and ultimately is responsible for his murder."

The driver of the car was then seen heading down Barrpowell Street, where he picked up Mr Holdback's alleged murderer and fled the scene.

Footage of car used in suspected murder.
Police are seeking information over a suspected getaway vehicle filmed fleeing the scene.

Det Supt Bray said investigators were yet to find a murder weapon but were confident they would catch the killers.

"These people are pathetic," he said.

"They've taken a young man's life and I think that when we get to the bottom of it, it will be just a senseless murder for something trivial.

"You know, nothing is solved by violence. They destroy the lives of his family and ultimately they destroy their own lives because we are going to find the person responsible and he will go to jail for a long, long time."

Det Supt Bray said Mr Holdback had a history of drug use but came from a decent family and was a good person.

"He's simply made the bad decision that a lot of our young people make to use drugs and sadly it looks like that's cost him his life," he said.

Police are urging any witnesses to come forward.

The area is densely populated by industrial buildings and police hope security guards working late at night might be able to shed further light on the incident.

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