Families of murdered boys plead for justice 40 years on

Detectives investigating the murders of two 11-year-old boys are re-appealing for information, 40 years on from their deaths.

School friends John Greenwood and Gary Miller were found by a dog walker hidden under a mattress in a rubbish tip in Whiston, near Liverpool, in the early evening of Saturday August 16, 1980.

Both youngsters were taken to hospital from the scene in Pottery Lane, in an area now known as Stadt Moers Park, but died from head injuries.

John Cheeseman, from Prescot, went on trial in 1981 for the boys’ murders but was found not guilty.

John Cheeseman outside court in 1981
John Cheeseman outside court in 1981

Merseyside Police, who reopened the probe in 2016, say they have spoken to a number of people but want to trace potential witnesses who they believe could have information which is vital to the investigation.

They are specifically looking to trace two boys who are said to have been assaulted by an older male outside Whiston Health Centre in July 1980. It is believed the boys were aged between 10 and 15 at the time.

Officers also want to speak to a boy called either “Duffy” or “Cuffy”, who was also aged about 10-15, and was in the company of another boy at the rear of the Labour club in Whiston on the day that John and Gary were found.

In addition, detectives are keen to trace anyone who attended the 28th St Helens (1st Whiston) Scout Group (latterly known as the 2nd Knowsley Scout Group) in 1980, or anyone who attended Halsnead junior school with Gary Miller and John Greenwood around the same time.

Speaking on behalf of both families, John Greenwood’s sister, Debbie Lewis, said: “Our families’ hearts were broken 40 years ago when two loved and cherished boys were taken.

“Forty years later those broken hearts have not healed. I see the pain in my parents’ faces. They live with loss and injustice.

John Greenwood
John Greenwood

“I appeal to our community today, please, it’s not too late to do the right thing.

“You could make the difference. You could help to bring some peace to these broken people.

“And to the person who killed the boys I say this – let this 40-year anniversary serve as a promise to you that I will never give up. I will never stop working tirelessly to get justice for my brother and his friend. Tell the truth.”

Detective Chief Inspector John Williams said: “It has been 40 years that the families of John and Gary have now lived with the pain of losing them, along with unanswered questions about their murder, which to the majority of people is simply unimaginable.

“Over the years, a number of lines of inquiry have been pursued and a number of people have been spoken to since the new appeal in 2016, however we are still seeking information.

“Despite the time that has passed, it remains vital to the investigation that anyone who may be able to assist comes forward.”

Anyone with any piece of information which could help the investigation, no matter how small, is asked to contact us via social media at @MerPolCC, call 101, or alternatively call the independent Crimestoppers hotline, anonymously on 0800 555 111.