Mobile of young dad found dead in Saddleworth reservoir ‘could solve murder’

Detectives investigating the murder of a young father found dead in a Saddleworth reservoir almost a year ago say they have recovered his mobile phone which could provide the key clue behind his killing.

Craig Wilcox, 28, vanished in January last year 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 Greater Manchester after a walker spotted him floating in the water.

Det Chief Insp Terry Crompton from Greater Manchester Police said: “Our main priority at the moment is to find those responsible for Craig’s death.

“He had no reason to be in the area especially at that time of night, Craig has no means of transport and we do not know how he travelled to Dovestones or who he was with.

 “It is unclear why Craig was in Dovestones that night, we know he had no mode of transport and had no reason to be there.

 “What we do know is that his phone was identified travelling from Newton Heath to Dovestones and arrived in the area at around 10.10pm and left 20 minutes later. What is important is finding out what happened in those crucial 20 minutes”, said  Det Chief Insp Terry Crompton.

He added: “I would also urge people to think back to the night of 6 January 2014 and get in touch if they saw anyone acting suspiciously or a car travelling to the area at that time of night.

 “We want to get answers for Craig’s family and friends, imagine if your son, brother or friend had been killed in this way, you would want people to come forward with information to find those responsible.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Craig Wilcox, who are understandably devastated by his death.”

Post mortem test were carried out on Wilcox’ body but they failed to establish the cause of death. Six men aged between 25 and 52 have been arrested in connection with the murder inquiry and are currently on bail.

Yesterday, a year on from the killing, detectives said they had traced the dead man’s phone and examinations showed it had travelled on the night Wlicox disappeared to the Dovestones area – arriving at around 10.10pm.

 The phone was then shown to have begun to travel back towards the Newton Heath area where Wilcox lived at 10.30pm – leaving a ”window” of around 20 minutes when the victim was at the reservoir.

 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. 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.


Mrs Wilcox said: ”At the time Craig went missing, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He always used to come and go as he wanted and he was the same before he disappeared. We weren’t aware of any issues. After he’d been gone a couple of days I became really worried so I called the police.

 ”His son Craig used to come and stay with us every weekend since he was three months old so we could spend time with him. We just want to know what happened to Craig. We’re getting questions off his son and he’s only seven.

 ”We’ve told him as much as we can and he knows he won’t be coming back. We don’t hide it from him. Sometimes he says ‘I wish my dad wasn’t dead’ It’s been a difficult period for us over Christmas. We haven’t celebrated it as a family but we tried to gloss over it as much as possible for little Craig.”

 Wilcox’ father said: ”On the day he went missing he said he was going to the library and I dropped him off but I didn’t see him again. I came home in the evening and he wasn’t there so I was concerned.

 ”When I didn’t hear anything I raised concern with the police and from that point he became a missing person. Craig couldn’t drive so for him to finish up there he must have been taken.

“ We weren’t aware of any connections he had with Dovestone. We’re just hoping that somebody will realise it’s gone beyond what they had expected and become something far more serious.

”Craig was very laid back, everything went over his head and he wasn’t concerned about much. He was care free and tomorrow was always another adventure for him. He was a great lad with a fantastic sense of humour.”

Story via Cavendish Press.

Main image courtesy of Steve Fareham, with thanks.

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