Fight for justice goes on 36 years after murder of two boys

Gary Miller and John Greenwood were murdered in August 1980
Gary Miller and John Greenwood were murdered in August 1980

A fresh appeal for information about the murder of two boys 36 years ago has been launched.

Merseyside Police has issued the appeal for information about the murders of John Greenwood and Gary Miller, who were just 11 years old when they were murdered in Whiston in August 1980.

John Greenwood

John Greenwood

The appeal comes after officers were passed new information by the Serious Crime Review Unit in the last month.

The school friends were found at 7.20pm on Saturday, August 16 1980, by a dog walker hidden under a mattress on the site of a disused colliery on Pottery Lane, Whiston, which had been turned into a local rubbish tip. The area is now known as Stadt Moers Park.

Both boys were taken to Whiston Hospital but John died in the early hours of Sunday, August 17 1980 and Gary died on Wednesday, August 20. Post mortems revealed that both boys had died as a result of head injuries.

Speaking on behalf of both families, John’s sister Deborah Lewis, said: “Losing the boys in such an horrific way was devastating for both families and has been heartbreaking to cope with. The fact that no-one has been convicted for their murders has made it so much harder.

John Greenwood, aged 11, with sister Deborah, two, and borther David, eight

John Greenwood, aged 11, with sister Deborah, two, and borther David, eight

“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.

“The murder of a child in a family causes so much pain to everyone, the very least we deserve is to find the evil person that did this and put them behind bars.

“Both the Greenwoods and the Millers are united in their fight for justice and we are supported by family and friends and local people. More than 2,000 people have joined my Facebook page to show their support for our fight for justice for John and Gary. They were two little boys who went out to play and they never came home.

“They were brutally attacked and left for dead. 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?”

John Greenwood with brother David

John Greenwood with brother David

Investigators from the Serious Crime Review Unit are appealing for anyone who saw John and Gary on Saturday, August 16 1980, to come forward and talk to the police as information they have could be vital to the investigation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson, said: “New information has come into the police in the last month and we want to take this opportunity to appeal to people who may be able help us find the person, or people, responsible for the murders of two 11-year-old friends 36 years ago.

“We would like to speak to anyone who may have seen the boys on the afternoon of Saturday, August 16 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, August 16.

“Two of the boys who were seen with the man were stood on the wall of the church hall 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.

A man, John Cheeseman, from Prescot, was arrested and charged with the murder of both boys and was subsequently found not guilty of both murders following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court.