Fresh leads in Janet cold case appeal

Detectives are chasing up a number of new leads following a fresh appeal to catch the brutal murderer of Preston law student Janet Murgatroyd in 1996.

Janet Murgatroyd
Janet Murgatroyd

But, while information has been coming in over the past month, officers say follow up enquiries have so far produced “nothing of major significance.”

Lancashire Police launched their “cold case” appeal a month ago to coincide with the 21st anniversary of Janet’s death. Talking in June about the renewed investigation, DCI Gary Brooks said: “Information has come to light, but sadly not sufficient information to bring anyone to charge or put them before the courts.”

And he urged anyone with any information, however small or seemingly insignificant, to come forward to help put the killer behind bars.

A month on, a police spokesperson said: “We have had a few calls (after the new appeal). Enquiries are going on into these responses, but nothing of major significance has come to light as yet. Everything is being followed up and as such our enquiries are continuing.”

Janet’s naked body was found in the River Ribble near Penwortham the day after she had been out drinking with friends in Preston. A post mortem revealed the 20-year-old had died from head injuries and drowning. A 22-year-old man was later arrested and sentenced to eight years after being found guilty of manslaughter. But his conviction was later quashed by the Court of Appeal.

The case has remained unsolved for more than two decades, with Lancashire Police unwilling to file it away.

“Twenty-one years on we remain committed to finding her killer,” insisted DCI Brooks.

“This was an opportunist offence by a very dangerous man who, despite the passage of time, still needs to be brought to justice.”