Whiston Child Murder Case Re-opened, Witnesses Wanted

By on Monday, October 17, 2016

Merseyside Police have re-opened an unsolved murdered case from over thirty years ago.

Whiston boys John Greenwood (left) and Gary Miller (right) were just 11 when they were killed on the evening of Saturday 16 August 1980.


At 7.20pm that evening, a man walking his dog found the boys alive but bloodied and unconscious. Their bodies had been hidden under a mattress on a rubbish tip, on the site of the former colliery, now Stadt Moers Park. They had been savagely beaten and left for dead.

Both were taken to Whiston Hospital. John Greenwood died in the early hours of Sunday morning, Gary Miller on the following Wednesday, 20 August. Neither regained consciousness.

A local man was tried for murder but found not guilty. Now, after over three decades of fighting, the families have finally succeeded in having Merseyside Police re-open the case.

“Losing the boys in such an horrific way was devastating for both families,” said Deborah Lewis, John Greenwood’s sister, “and has been heartbreaking to cope with.

“The fact that no-one has been convicted for their murders has made it so much harder.

“For 36 years we have lived with the frustration and the fear that we could be sitting next to their killer on a bus, or walking past them on the street.”

She added: “We would like to appeal to those who know the truth to speak up and would urge anyone who may have information which could help the police with their inquiries to come forward.

“Search your consciences and ask yourself: What if it was my child, or grandchild?”

Below: John Greenwood pictured with sister Deborah and brother David


Police appeal for witnesses

Having received new evidence, police are now asking for anyone with information about the evening of Saturday 16 August 1980 to come forward.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson said: “We would like to speak to anyone who may have seen the boys on the afternoon of Saturday, 16 August 1980, and are also interested in talking to anyone who may have been at, or near to, the rubbish tip on Pottery Lane (which is now known locally as Stadt Moers Park), as information they have could be vital.

“We are particularly interested in talking to anyone who may have seen a man with three young boys, aged between 12 and 14 years, near to the church hall on Dragon Lane, Whiston, between 6.45pm and 7.20pm on Saturday 16 August.

“Two of the boys who were seen with the man were stood on the wall of the church hall [now a nursery on the junction with Windy Arbor Road] and one was in the grounds of the church hall. Were you one of the three boys? If so please come forward and talk to us.

“This is a tragic case and the families of both boys quite rightly want justice. This was a high profile case at the time and I am sure that people in Whiston will have information which could help us identify the person, or people responsible.

“We are aware that people may have moved on and out of the Whiston area over the years, and as a result we will also be making appeals nationally.

“We are committed to helping the family try to get the justice they deserve and we want to develop the new information which has come in to the police, but we need more information to take this investigation forward.

For the sake of the families I would urge anyone who lived, or worked, in Whiston, at the time of the murders, or who has any information at all that could help us with our inquiries to speak to us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigators on 0151 777 3100, or the independent Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111.

Below: A map showing two key Whiston locations police have highlighted in their investigations. Click the blue markers for info about each location.

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