Daughter's tearful plea for justice

The daughter of a man murdered in Wigan 16 years ago fears her father's killers may never be brought to justice.

Wednesday, 27th December 2017, 12:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th December 2017, 1:45 pm
Billy with his young daughter Ashlea, who is now 22

William Craig Webb, who was widely known as Billy, was gunned down in cold blood in 2001 in a case that remains unsolved to this day.

Two armed men reportedly blasted the 42-year-old to death at his flat on Whiteledge Road in Ashton-in-Makerfield.

He was shot twice in the head as he lay in bed, and was killed instantly.

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Mr Webb's grave

The execution-style death shocked the borough to the core, and neither the gunmen - nor anyone who may have commissioned them to carry out the crime - have ever been brought to justice.

A 21-year-old woman who was in a casual relationship with Webb was badly wounded during the attack.

His daughter Ashlea Parr was just six at the time.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Bolton, revealed her anger and heartache over the failure to bring her dad’s murderers to justice, after marking what would have been his 59th birthday this week.

Mr Webb's grave

“I’ve spent 16 years looking for answers,” she said.

“Why should I keep doing that?

“I’m at an end now where I don’t know what to do.”

She added: “I don’t think it’s ever going to come to a close, to be honest. It’s been long enough.

“I don’t think they (the police) are going to do anything about it.

“They say they have no evidence and are struggling.”

Ashlea also believed her father’s background as a prominent drug dealer has negated the speed and thoroughness of the murder investigation.

She said: “I do genuinely think it’s because of who he was.

“It shouldn’t matter who he was or what he did.

“It’s a joke that he wasn’t remembers as a dad, or an uncle or brother. They just look at him as Bolton’s drug dealer.”

Webb’s killers have never been found, and nobody has been charged in connection to the murder to this day.

It is something which Ashlea said the police bear most responsibility for, but also those who may know the killer’s identity but have never come forward.

“Because nobody talked, I just get told stories about what happened.

“When I say no one spoke, I mean it.

“They just don’t care. It has ruined my life.”

The only two men ever tried in connection to the killing were cleared after the case against them sensationally collapsed, two years after Mr Webb’s murder.

Brian Roper and Paul Swann were found not guilty of conspiracy to murder in 2003, after their defence submitted that there was insufficient evidence against them.

The judge in the case eventually directed the jury to find the pair not guilty. It had never been suggested that either man pulled the trigger.

The Greater Manchester Police cold case unit was approached for comment but was unavailable at the time of publication.

The case remains open to this day. Anyone with information should call Greater Manchester Police cold case unit on 0161 856 5961.