Police reopen files on 1980 double murder

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John Greenwood and Gary Miller were murdered in 1980. Photos issued by Merseyside Police

John Greenwood and Gary Miller were murdered in 1980. Photos issued by Merseyside Police

A double murder investigation has been reopened by Merseyside Police more than three decades after the death of two schoolboys, following reports of new witnesses and a possible suspect.

John Greenwood and Gary Miller were unearthed after being buried alive 36 years ago last month by a dog walker. He found them under a mattress on the site of a disused colliery turned rubbish tip in Whiston.

Merseyside Police are now urging anyone with fresh information to come forward after a Sunday Times investigation into the case generated new leads. The trial of a man who was accused of the murders ended in the acquittal of John Cheeseman, who denied the charges and was found not guilty in 1981.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson said: “We are particularly interested in talking to anyone who may have seen a man with three young boys, aged between 12 and 14 years, near to the church hall on Dragon Lane, Whiston, between 6.45pm and 7.20pm on Saturday 16 August [1980]. Two of the boys who were seen with the man were stood on the wall of the church hall and one was in the grounds of the church hall.

“Were you one of the three boys? If so please come forward and talk to us.”

YouTube: New News TV


Deborah Lewis, the sister of one of John Greenwood, is behind the new search for the killer of the 11-year-olds. She believes that only once the murderer has finally been caught can she and her family finally move on with their life.

She told the Liverpool Echo: “To lose a child in a family is devastating and it affects everyone, from the parents and siblings to aunties and uncles – even children who weren’t born at the time.”

The boys’ mothers campaigned to find the killer in 1980 when the murders took place, getting thousands of signatures and appealing to parliament, but to no avail. The families then hoped an advancement in DNA technology in 2008 would be enough to put their sons’ murderer behind bars but detectives failed to find new evidence.

Merseyside Police want anyone with relevant information to contact detectives on 0151 777 3100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

About Sam Heyhirst, JMU Journalism