POLICE have no plans to reopen the investigation into Northwich grandad Jock Straiton’s murder – even though a third killer may still be at large.
Two 20-year-olds – Nigel Goolding, of Cromwell Road, Winnington, and Joshua Spruce, of Alderley Road, Winnington – were found guilty of the murder of Mr Straiton in April after a five-week trial at Chester Crown Court.
A third man, Paul Blower, of Chapel Street, Wincham, was cleared of the same charge.
After Mr Blower was acquitted and freed on April 1, Judge Roderick Evans expressed his concern there was a third attacker who had not been brought to justice.
A key witness who gave evidence for the prosecution called for fresh enquiries to be made this week, which marked a year since Mr Straiton was fatally attacked.
He told the Chronicle: “From the start we always knew there were three people involved, and now it seems we’ve been slightly let down. It feels as if we didn’t get the full service.”
During the trial, counsel for Mr Blower and Spruce suggested that a teenage witness (Teenager Four) who gave evidence against Goolding and Spruce was directly involved in the killing.
When police turned up at his house on the morning of July 26 – less than 12 hours after the attack – and asked for the clothes he had been wearing when the assault took place, they were told they were in the washing machine, Det Con Nigel Twigg told the jury.
During the trial it was also claimed by Gordon Cole, defending Spruce, that after Mr Straiton had died a fellow witness told Teenager Four during a row at a party: “I’m not covering for you any more”.
The Chronicle submitted a formal request to Cheshire Constabulary asking the following questions:
Have any names, other than those who were tried, been suggested to Cheshire police as the possible third killer?
Has Teenager Four been suggested to Cheshire police as the possible third killer?
Have the clothes and shoes Teenager Four was wearing on the night Jock Straiton was attacked ever been examined?
Does the investigation team disagree with the judge’s assertion there were three people involved in the attack on Jock Straiton?
If not, why is the investigation team not looking for the third person?
Are any attempts being made to gather new evidence?
Det Insp Helen Spooner, who led the investigation, issued only the following statement in response: “There is no evidence which has come to light to give grounds to continue the investigation.
“Cheshire Constabulary presented the evidence to the court and two men were convicted of murder. The third defendant was acquitted by the jury.
“We would welcome anyone who has any information or evidence that wasn’t heard at court to come forward.”