Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

30 Years on, Riddle of Mechanic Feared to Have Been Killed in Gangland 'Execution'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

30 Years on, Riddle of Mechanic Feared to Have Been Killed in Gangland 'Execution'

Article excerpt

THE journey from Laurence Winstanley's local pub to his mum's house would normally take him just a few minutes. But 30 years ago, on October 2, 1988, the last time he was seen alive, why did that same journey take him over an hour? It's just one of several crucial questions detectives have wrestled with ever since the 23-year-old mechanic's mutilated and partly burned body was found wrapped in a curtain and weighed down with a pick-axe head in Baitings Dam near Littleborough . Laurence had been shot once to the head. At the time, detectives said they believed it was a gangland 'execution', but the killer has never been found.

Now on the 30th anniversary of Laurence's disappearance, detectives have renewed their appeal for information.

The car mechanic moved with his family from Ogden, Rochdale, to a home on Cliff Hill Road in Shaw, Oldham, about a year before he was last seen.

Laurence left Roch Valley High School in Milnrow with seven O-levels, and owned his own garage in Sholver, Oldham at the time of his disappearance.

On the night of October 2, 1988, he went for a drink at his local, The Windsor, where he received a phone call which seemed to concern him.

After leaving the pub, he went to his mother's house in Shaw. The journey would usually take a few minutes, but that night it took him more than an hour. Detectives still do not know what delayed him.

Later he went back to the pub, but was never seen alive again.

A couple of days after he went missing, a man took Laurence's red Ford Cortina estate car to a scrap merchant in the Oldham area, and gave the name Burrows.

He has never been traced. Laurence's mutilated body was discovered almost a year later on September 26, 1989, in the reservoir, just off the A58, on the outskirts of Ripponden, West Yorkshire.

The case featured on Crimewatch in 1989 and more than 80 officers swooped on homes in Rochdale and Littleborough in January 1990.

But Laurence's murderer has never been found, despite his desperate mother putting up £25,000 from her savings as a reward for information in October 2001 - and the police putting up a £10,000 reward on the 20th anniversary of his body being discovered. …

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