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Case of boys' 1980 Whiston murder reopened

Gary Miller and John Greenwood Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Gary Miller (left) and John Greenwood (right) died in hospital after being beaten and hidden under a mattress on a rubbish tip in 1980

Police have reopened the case of two 11-year-old friends murdered in Merseyside 36 years ago.

John Greenwood and Gary Miller died after being found beaten and hidden under a mattress on a rubbish tip in Whiston on 16 August 1980.

A man was tried for their murders in 1981, but found not guilty.

Police are making a fresh appeal for anybody who saw the boys on the day of the murders after receiving new information.

A dog walker found the schoolfriends at about 19.20 BST at the site of a disused colliery on Pottery Lane, which is now Stadt Moers Park.

'Fight for justice'

They both later died at Whiston Hospital as a result of head injuries, post-mortem examinations revealed.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Deborah was two years old when her brother John was murdered

John Greenwood's sister, Deborah Lewis, 38, from Whiston said the last 36 years had been "heartbreaking" to cope with and that the families are "united in their fight for justice".

"The original police investigation was very flawed - mistakes were made and we were let down", she said.

"We tried over the years to get the police to do more and it's very frustrating."

'Search your consciences'

Speaking on behalf of both families, Ms Lewis said "losing the boys in such an horrific way was devastating" and "the fact that no-one has been convicted for their murders has made it so much harder".

She urged "those who know the truth to speak up".

"They were two little boys who went out to play and they never came home... search your consciences and ask yourself: what if it was my child, or grandchild?" she said.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption John Greenwood's sister, Deborah Lewis, says the family were "let down" but she has "confidence in the current police"

Ms Lewis thanked investigative reporter Josh Boswell, who she said had researched the case and given police the information he uncovered for a Sunday Times investigation.

She said the moment a police officer "took her seriously" and told her they would look into the case again, she "started crying".

Det Ch St Paul Richardson said Merseyside Police were "committed to helping the family try to get the justice they deserve".

He said as a result of the new information, investigators were "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 18.45 BST and 19.20 BST on Saturday 16 August 1980.

"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?" he said.

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