Police have launched a public appeal over a Dovestone mystery that has baffled detectives even longer than the ‘Neil Dovestone’ case.
Three years after the body of Craig Wilcox was found in the beauty spot reservoir in Greenfield the case is no nearer being solved.
Six people have been arrested over the disappearance of the 28-year-old dad of one from Failsworth but all have been released without charge and without subject to any bail conditions.
Now, on the third anniversary of Craig’s murder, lead detective Terry Crompton is appealing for more information that could lead to his killers finally being brought to justice.
“When the incident first came to our attention Craig was reported as a missing person,” DCI Crompton told the Independent.
“It wasn’t for another six weeks until his body was recovered. That makes a huge difference to the investigation.
“When the body was eventually recovered we gathered more information and then we realised it was more suspicious than we first thought.
“It is a very complicated case. Six people were arrested and we are still striving to obtain evidence. The bottom line is we are never going to give up on this.
“While there are still lines of enquiry we still keep going. So, the appeal is to anyone who might have received a disclosure. Someone might have said something to them that might be important to us.
“The fact we have arrested six people already we have made progress. But we need more help.”
Craig was last seen on Monday 6 January 2014, at the home of relatives on Norfolk Crescent in Failsworth.
His parents reported him missing and an investigation was launched by detectives in Oldham. The investigation established Craig had confided in a friend that he feared for his safety.
On Monday 24 February 2014 at about 10.40am, officers attended Dovestone, supported by an underwater search team, and Craig’s body was recovered from the water.
A post-mortem examination was carried out, but the result was unascertained. Detectives have traced Craig’s phone from the night of 6 January 2014 and it was picked up leaving Newton Heath, close to where he lived at around 9.45pm.
The phone travelled towards Oldham town centre and arrived in the Dovestone area at around 10.10pm.
It was then traced to travel back towards Newton Heath at 10.30pm leaving a window of 20 minutes when Craig was at the reservoir.
Craig had no reason to be in Saddleworth that evening and had never visited the reservoir before.
He did not drive or have any way of travelling to the area and there was also no car left at the scene where his body was found.
DCI Crompton from GMP’s Major Incident Team added: ”We need answers to our questions: what was Craig doing in Dovestones at that time of night? How did he get there? Who was he with? We know that someone out there has those answers.
“Imagine if your son, brother, or friend had been murdered, you would want people to come forward with information to find those responsible. Be brave and do the right thing.
“What we do know is that his phone was identified travelling from Newton Heath to Dovestone and arrived in the area at around 10.10pm and left 20 minutes later.
“Think back to the night of 6 January 2014 and get in touch if you saw anyone acting suspiciously or a car travelling to the area at that time of night.
“If you come forward with what you know I assure you that you will have our full support. Or if you don’t feel you can talk to police but you have information, you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously.”
Craig’s parents, Carolyn and Stephen Wilcox said: “We are reminded of Craig every single day, we miss him.
“We live every day in a horrible dream and wonder what happened to him and why? What is so bad that you have to lose your life for?
“Craig had plans for the rest of his life, plans that included his six-year-old son. He will never now be with his son at Christmas, birthdays, holidays and special days in his son’s life.
“His son asks questions about his dad, what do we tell him? Fortunately he has some memories, but he should have many more.
“Craig didn’t lose his life, his life was taken from him and the people responsible for his death could do this to someone else. We wouldn’t want any other family to go through the sadness we feel every day.
“We believe someone knows what happened to Craig. As a family, we are asking if anyone can help us find the answers we are looking for.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 9283, or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.