Louise Sellars: Wigan schoolgirl's murder to feature in TV documentary tonight

The savage killing of a Wigan schoolgirl and the years it took police to track down her murderer comes under the TV spotlight in a new documentary tonight (Monday).

Monday, 11th October 2021, 12:52 pm
Updated Monday, 11th October 2021, 12:54 pm

Shevington High School pupil Louise Sellars was found battered and strangled to death in fields behind Billinge Hospital in 1995.

The finger of suspicion for the 15-year-old’s murder soon fell on a young Appley Bridge man called Darren Ashurst who had been acting oddly the night of the killing and thereafter, not least the washing and valeting of his car late at night. But despite arresting him, detectives did not have enough evidence to charge him and so he was released.

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Louise Sellars

However several years later the new head of Wigan CID Det Supt Ian Seabridge revisited the case, made fresh appeals for witnesses and subjected collected evidence at the time to the latest in DNA testing.

Advances in technology now showed that Ashurst’s DNA was on a cigarette butt found near Louise’s body - an area which the suspect claimed he had never visited.

Further witnesses came forward including a woman who recognised the rope with which Louise had been strangled as being one that had last been seen in Ashurst’s possession, and some men whom Ashurst had asked to steal and burn his car after the murder.

Ashurst pleaded not guilty to the crime when he went on trial at Manchester Crown Court in 1999 but was found unanimously guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released in 2020.

Det Supt Ian Seabridge with the forensic team conducting a fingertip search of the Louise Sellars murder scene with Billinge Hospital in the backgound

The details of this horrific case will now be explored in the latest series of Murdertown. Now presented by Anita Rani, it is the Crime and Investigation Channel’s most watched programme.

While some Wigan murders have been made the subject of several programmes over the years, this is the first time the Sellars murder has been given a whole episode, in part due to the fact that the producer Joel Orme is from Appley Bridge and remembers the case when he was younger.

The episode of Murdertown will be screened at 9pm tonight (Monday October 11).

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Killer Darren Ashurst