Updated: Sunday, 9th August 2020 @ 8:23am

Dove Stone Reservoir murder: Craig Wilcox had gang 'after him' – his father vows to keep memory alive

Dove Stone Reservoir murder: Craig Wilcox had gang 'after him' – his father vows to keep memory alive

| By Jon Harris

The father of a man who is belived to have been murdered and his body dumped in a reservoir in Greater Manchester has said he will keep his son's memory alive for his grandson ‘Little Craig’.

Craig Wilcox, 28, had vanished in January after telling friends that he was living in fear of 'some lads'  who were 'after him'.

His body with one of his blue canvass Vans training shoes missing was found a month later by police divers in Dovestones Reservoir in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, after a walker spotted him floating in the water.

A post mortem test was carried out but failed to establish the cause of death and further inquiries including toxicology tests are being carried out.

Today Greater Manchester Police said a murder inquiry had began into Wilcox's death.

The victim, who had a six-year-old son also called Craig, had planned to take his driving test and get a job as a driver.

He spoke about taking his son on holiday and teaching him to swim and ride a bike.

In a statement, Wilcox's father said: "My son was a very generous lad. He had a great sense of humour and I can't say anything bad about him.

"He was a fantastic father and he had lots of patience and time with his son.

"He was positive about the future for the first time in a long time. We are totally devastated that Craig has died, we will never forget him and will keep his memory alive for his son 'Little Craig'.

"He spoke about taking his son on holiday and teaching him to swim and ride a bike.

"Craig was very close to his Mum, Carolyn and used to talk her all the time. He spoke positively about his plans for this year."

He added that his son planned to get some money together to get his driving licence and then a driving job. 

Wilcox was last seen alive on January 6 when he visited his parents Stephen, 56, and Carolyn, 55, at their home in Failsworth, near Oldham.

He left at about 7pm but did not say where he was going and was reported missing a few days later. His body was found on February 24.

Detective Inspector Terry Crompton of Greater Manchester Police said: "Craig comes from a very close family. He had a lot of contact with his six-year-old son so they are obviously very upset by what has happened."

"We are really struggling to understand what happened in between. We believe Craig was murdered. It was totally out of character for Craig to go missing.

"Craig was a lad who was very popular, very smart, well liked. He had a young son and there was just no reason for him to commit suicide."

Det Insp Crompton said police have yet to establish a cause of death, though are still doing further tests.

He said: ''We have recently gained information to suggest there were people that he was in trouble with some lads.  We want to appeal for those who might have information to assist us with that.

"We understand some lads were after Craig and that was as much as he said to his friends. We don't know anything more than that.”

Det Insp Crompton added that Mr Wilcox was not known to the police and he did not have any particular criminal background, and at present they do not know what the motive for the crime is.

''What we are trying to do is work on his last movements and that is really important that we try and establish that,” he said.

''The last confirmed sighting of him is at his parents address. From there we really don't know where he went and it is really important it us to try and establish what happened after that date.

"We are struggling to work out how he made it to the reservoir on his own. He had no access to transport. When his body was found he just had one shoe on that we have not recovered yet.

''We are interested in anyone who may have seen the shoe as that will help us with where he went into the reservoir in the first place. If someone has seen or found that shoe that would be very important to us."

Story via Cavendish Press.

Image courtesy of Steve Fareham, with thanks.