Police chief's praise for 'heroes' who intervened at Wigan murder scene
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Superintendent Chris Bridge lavishly thanked them for their courage during the violent incident on Upholland Road during a press conference at Wigan Police Station on Thursday afternoon.
One of the men was stabbed and ended up in hospital, but Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said he is now in a stable condition and his injuries are not life-threatening.
Supt Bridge described the murder of mum-of-one and beautician Melissa, 32, as an “horrendous, abhorrent” crime and revealed that shockingly her 13-year-old daughter was not only present but was the one who rang the police.
However, his warmest words were reserved for the two passers-by who intervened, saying that without their courageous action the attacker may have stabbed more people.
Supt Bridge said: “Heroes is an over-used term, in my view, but it admirably describes the actions of these two men who intervened.
“They showed extreme bravery and courage to disregard their own safety and run towards danger. Without their intervention we could have been looking at more victims and more serious injuries.
“I want to thank them whole-heartedly for doing that.
“This is an horrendous, abhorrent incident. My thoughts and prayers are with this poor woman’s family, especially her daughter. I cannot possibly imagine what they are going through. I wish to send my heartfelt sorrow to them.”
Supt Bridge said he did not currently believe the two have-a-go heroes who ran to the scene were known to either Melissa or her attacker.
He said he wishes to visit them and thank them in person when it is possible to do so in the future.
However, the police investigating the murder believe Melissa and her attacker were known to each other.
Specially-trained officers are supporting her grieving family and Supt Bridge said welfare measures are also being put in place for the officers who attended to help them cope with what they saw there.
Supt Bridge appealed for witnesses to come forward, saying he did not believe that the force has spoken to everyone who saw something of the tragic events in Billinge on Wednesday afternoon.
He also reassured the community that police think Melissa’s murder was a one-off incident and there is little likelihood of further attacks.
A 36-year-old man remained in custody for questioning on suspicion of murder and attempted murder on Thursday night.
Supt Bridge said: “This was a sunny afternoon and there are potentially people in the area who have not come forward.
“I urge anyone with information or footage. We are aware people potentially filmed some or all of these incidents. This could be crucial to our inquiries and investigation and they need to come forward and speak to us.
“We believe this was a targeted, isolated incident, and do not believe there’s a wider a threat to the community. I want to reassure the wider community, which I am sure will be concerned in relation to this given the circumstances.
“The community in Wigan and Leigh has been brilliant at coming forward to assist us in the past. We are a strong community here ”
Supt Bridge said the investigation would be looking at events which might have preceded Melissa’s murder to see if they are relevant.
However, despite Melissa being widely named locally, GMP is still liaising with the coroner and the formal identification process has yet to be completed.
Anyone with information about the murder should ring police on 101, quoting incident reference number 1981 for the date 20/05/20, or ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.