Hunt for key witness as police continue to investigate crash that claimed the lives of two Billinge pensioners

Dave Culleton
Dave Culleton

Police are trying to trace a key witness to a horror crash in Wigan that claimed the lives of two elderly pals.

Dave Culleton, 82, and 79-year-old Keith Brown were fatally injured when they were in collision with a Ford Kuga car on the Friday before Christmas.

Keith Brown

Keith Brown

Mr Brown’s wife Ruth was also badly injured in the crash on Up Holland Road, Billinge.

Officers investigating the collision - at 8.15pm on December 21 - particularly want to speak to a woman driver who helped in the aftermath of the tragedy but did not leave details.

No arrests have been made and inquiries are still ongoing.

Det Sgt Darren Hancock of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “Despite an appeal from officers at the time of this incident for any dashcam footage or witnesses to contact police, we are still investigating what led to this collision and what happened during and after the incident.

The scene of the double tragedy on Up Holland Road, Billinge

The scene of the double tragedy on Up Holland Road, Billinge

“We are asking anyone who witnessed this collision, specifically a woman who assisted at the scene and was driving a light coloured Fiat 500 to contact police.

"We would like the woman to know that she is not in any trouble and ask her to go to any police station or make contact with us as soon as possible.”

An inquest into the double fatality was opened at Bolton Coroner's Court earlier this month. After confirming basic details about the deceased, it was adjourned pending further police investigations.

Tributes have also been paid to the two victims in the incident's aftermath.

Mr Culleton's family said: “Our dad Dave was the most kind and caring dad we could wish for, all his life he was a devoted husband, dad and grandad.

“Our hearts have been broken and we are utterly devastated that he has been taken in this tragic way.

“He was a man that lived life to the full and was keen on many sports, he was a lifelong Everton fan, a keen golfer, he swam regularly at his local gym and was always out walking in the local area. The community of Billinge where he has lived for the last 52 years will miss his smiling face.

“He always had time to have a chat and a laugh with everyone and many people have said how special he was and how much his many friends are going to miss him.

“We would like to thank the emergency services that attended, all the staff from The Hare and Hounds and anyone that helped on the night.

“Our thoughts also go out to Keith’s family and his wife Ruth who was also involved in this terrible incident, Keith was a lovely man and a good friend to our dad.”

Mr Brown’s family said: “To our beloved dad, Keith Brown, rest peacefully. Much loved grandad and husband of over 55 years to Ruth. Sorely missed by family and friends.”

Anyone who witnessed the collision or they are or know the person mentioned, please contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741 quoting incident number 2764 of 20/12/2019, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.