Detectives appeal for help to track down ‘prime suspect’ over Moss Side murders

Detectives investigating a double murder at a lockdown party in Manchester have urged people in the Birmingham area to help them track down a prime suspect.

The alleged killer, who is not being named by police, is wanted by officers investigating the murders of Cheriff Tall, 21, and Abayomi Ajose, 36.

Both victims were shot in the head at a “spontaneous” party attended by up to 400 people in Moss Side, Manchester, in the early hours of June 21.

Cheriff Tall death
A photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of Cheriff Tall, 21, who was shot dead during a double-murder at an outdoor lockdown party in Manchester.

Appealing directly to people in the West Midlands to come forward, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Wilkinson said the suspect had managed to remain at large despite his identity being known among communities in both Manchester and Birmingham.

The Greater Manchester Police officer told a news conference in Birmingham: “For four months we have had a dedicated team trying to trace the prime suspect.

“This person knows that we need to speak to them. If they have got nothing to hide, they should step forward and come and speak to us.

“I’m pretty sure someone will be harbouring him because I think it’s well known in the community, both in Manchester and in Birmingham, who we are looking for.”

Abayomi Ajose death
Undated handout photo issued by Greater Manchester Police of father-of-three Abayomi Ajose, 36, who died after being shot in June.

Officers have so far traced around 300 people who attended the party and have spoken to around 275 of them, including some who have passed on information but are reluctant to become official witnesses.

Appealing for people from Birmingham with information about the murders to do the right thing, DCI Wilkinson added: “From the inquiries we have made, it’s quite clear people from Birmingham attended that party.

“I totally get why people are reluctant to come forward but put yourself in the shoes of the family – four months on they still want answers. They desperately want justice.

“Anybody who is prepared to carry a firearm… whether it was spontaneous or not, they’re obviously very dangerous people.

“I want people to tell me where he is. As I said, there are three to four hundred people at this gathering. The people who have witnessed this murder – I want those to come forward as well and tell me exactly what they have seen so we can build a picture.”

Manchester shooting
Police at the scene of the fatal shooting on Sunday June 21 this year. (Credit Peter Byrne/PA)

DCI Wilkinson, who believes around 20 people from Birmingham attended the party, said he was keeping an open mind as to whether the suspect is still in the West Midlands.

In a pre-prepared statement to the media, DCI Wilkinson said: “The reason I am appealing directly to you, the people of Birmingham, is because I believe there is someone out there in your community who has information about these murders.

“Although four months have passed since this tragic double murder, we remain as determined as ever to find those responsible.

“We firmly believe that the culprit of these cold-blooded murders is from the Birmingham area and we know that someone out there has information that could help us trace this killer and ensure he faces the consequences for his cowardly actions.

“The impact this murder has had in our local Manchester community is devastating and our thoughts are with the victims’ families, who have had their lives completely ripped apart with no answers to their questions and no one to hold accountable for the loss and pain they have to live with every single day.

“A wife has been widowed, three young children have been left fatherless and a mother has lost her son. I cannot even begin to imagine the frustration and hurt these families must feel from the knowledge that the killer is walking free.”

Anyone with information to assist the inquiry is urged to contact Greater Manchester Police or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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