Cope manhunt - appeal on Crimewatch

Police in Hindley, thought to be searching for fugitive Michael Cope
Police in Hindley, thought to be searching for fugitive Michael Cope
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DETECTIVES searching for wanted Michael Cope are hoping an appeal on tonight’s BBC Crimewatch will help find the killer of Linzi Ashton.

Mother-of-two Linzi was found at her home on Westbourne Road, Winton by relatives shortly before 6pm on Saturday, June 29.

A Home Office post mortem concluded Linzi died as a result of pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.

An intensive manhunt was launched and it has been declared a priority of Greater Manchester Police to find Michael Cope.

Tonight (Thursday) the appeal to trace Cope will be the first case mentioned in the programme’s regular wanted faces slot.

Images taken from CCTV of Cope buying food from a shop in Hindley on Sunday, July 14, will feature in the appeal.

The reward on offer of £25,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Michael Cope, made up of pledges from the independent charity Crimestoppers and GMP, will also be mentioned.

The latest pictures are taken from a convenience store on Atherton Road in Hindley where Cope withdrew money and is seen buying food at about 1.25pm.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Shenton said: “The officers who continue to try and find Michael Cope are committed to bringing justice to the family of Linzi Ashton, who was the victim of a brutal and violent murder.

“Since Cope was identified as the prime suspect in this murder, we have appealed for the public⿿s help and while we are grateful to the communities in Salford, Hindley and Leigh for their ongoing cooperation and support, tonight’s appeal underlines the importance of Michael Cope being found.

“Detectives who have been working first-hand on this inquiry will be in the studio ready to speak to anyone who wishes to give information.

“We have kept Linzi’s family updated on the investigation.

“We understand that there continues to be concern among people in Wigan, and naturally there will be lots of visible police activity to find Cope, but I would like to reassure people that the specialist officers we have on hand are working to the sole objective is to find Cope safely.

“We still believe is Cope sleeping rough so I would also ask that people remain vigilant; we believe Cope is familiar with the canal pathways between Salford and Leigh and may have spent time near the canal and waterways in Hindley.

“We would urge people to report any suspicious behaviour around outbuildings, sheds or gardens, as well as disused railway lines and open land.

“However, in their vigilance we would like to remind people that if Cope is seen he is not to be approached, as we do believe that he is dangerous and could be armed. Anyone who sees him should call the police immediately.⿝

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5092 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

BBC Crimewatch is on at 9pm on BBC One.