Above: John Greenwood (L) and Gary Miller (R)
Detectives investigating the murder of two young boys in Whiston are re-appealing for information 40 years on from their deaths.
John Greenwood and Gary Miller were just 11 years old when they were murdered in August 1980.
At 7.20pm on Saturday, 16 August, the school friends were found by a local dog walker hidden under a mattress on the site of a disused colliery on Pottery Lane, Whiston, which had been turned into a local rubbish tip. The area is now known as Stadt Moers Park.
Both boys were taken to Whiston Hospital, where, sadly, John Greenwood died in the early hours of Sunday, 17 August 1980 and Gary Miller died on Wednesday, 20 August. Post mortems revealed that both boys had died as a result of head injuries.
A new appeal was launched in October 2016 after Merseyside Police’s Serious Crime Review Unit was given new information into the murders.
A number of people have been spoken to however detectives are keen to speak to potential witnesses who they believe could have information which is vital to the investigation.
They are specifically looking to trace two boys who, a witness has told police, were seen being assaulted by an older male outside Whiston Health Centre in July 1980. It is believed that the boys were aged between 10 and 15 at the time.
Officers also want to speak to a boy, called either ‘Duffy’ or ‘Cuffy’, who was also aged around 10-15, and was in the company of another boy at the rear of the Labour club in Whiston on the day that John and Gary were found.
In addition detectives are keen to trace anyone who attended the 28th St Helens (1st Whiston) Scout Group (latterly known as the 2nd Knowsley Scout Group) in 1980 or anyone who attended Halsnead junior school with Gary Miller and John Greenwood around the same time.
Speaking on behalf of both families, John Greenwood’s sister, Debbie Lewis, said: “Our families’ hearts were broken 40 years ago when two loved and cherished boys were taken. 40 years later those broken hearts have not healed. I see the pain in my parents’ faces. They live with loss and injustice.
“I appeal to our community today, please, it’s not too late to do the right thing. You could make the difference. You could help to bring some peace to these broken people. And to the person who killed the boys I say this – let this 40 year anniversary serve as a promise to you that I will NEVER give up. I will never stop working tirelessly to get justice for my brother and his friend. Tell the truth.’
John’s dad, John Greenwood, said: “It is a life sentence for all us and I do not have a day’s peace from it. Anger and grief plays a part of my everyday life. I am missing him so much. We have not been able to have a normal life like most people do. John’s mum and I were only 28 years old when this life sentence of heartbreak was forced upon us”
Gary Miller’s mum, Alma Miller said: “’I feel I am running out of time to see justice done.”
Detective Chief Inspector John Williams said: “It has been 40 years that the families of John and Gary have now lived with the pain of losing them, along with unanswered questions about their murder, which to the majority of people is simply unimaginable.
“Over the years, a number of lines of inquiry have been pursued and a number of people have been spoken to since the new appeal in 2016, however we are still seeking information. Despite the time that has passed, it remains vital to the investigation that anyone who may be able to assist comes forward.
“We are particularly keen to speak to the two boys who were seen being assaulted by an older male outside Whiston Health Centre in the month before Gary and John’s death and also the boys who were playing at the rear of the Labour club in Whiston on the day they were attacked.
“I understand that 1980 is a long time ago, but I would ask that people try to cast their minds back and let us know any piece of information that may be able to help. Maybe you lived or worked in the area at the time, remember seeing or hearing something suspicious, or have information that until now, you haven’t come forward with. This was a high-profile case and we are sure that someone, somewhere has crucial information. We would implore you to make contact with us, even if you are unsure if your information is irrelevant to the investigation.
“40 years is an incredibly long time to live with broken hearts and no answers, and the families of John and Gary, two innocent young boys who were killed in the most brutal way, deserve the truth and to see the person responsible brought to justice.”
Anyone with any piece of information which could help the investigation, no matter how small, is asked to contact us via social media at @MerPolCC, call 101, or alternatively call the independent Crimestoppers hotline, anonymously on 0800 555 111.