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New sighting of wanted Michael Cope
Thursday 18th July, 2013

Detectives have released CCTV footage of what they believe is a recent sighting of wanted Michael Cope.

The pictures are taken from a convenience store on Atherton Road in Hindley, Wigan where Cope withdrew money and is seen buying food at about 1.25pm on Sunday 14 July 2013.

Cope is wanted for the murder of Linzi Ashton, a mother-of-two who was found at her home on Westbourne Road, Winton by relatives shortly before 6pm on Saturday 29 June 2013.

Detective Chief Superintendent Darren Shenton said: "It has now been almost three weeks since Linzi's murder, since which officers have been working very hard to find Michael Cope.

"We have kept Linzi's family updated on the investigation and we are also grateful to the communities of Salford for their ongoing cooperation throughout the course of our enquiries.

"However, I would now urge the people of Hindley and Wigan to help our investigation if they can; if you have seen the man pictured, please call us.

"I would also ask that people in this area remain vigilant; we believe Cope is familiar with the canal pathways between Salford and Leigh and may have spent time near the canal and waterways in Hindley.

"He may have been sleeping rough and we would urge people to report any suspicious behaviour around outbuildings, sheds or gardens, as well as disused railway lines and open land.

"However, in their vigilance we would like to remind people that if Cope is seen he is not to be approached, as we do believe that he is dangerous and could be armed. Anyone who sees him should call the police immediately.

"We understand these developments may alarm people in Wigan, but I would like to reassure them that we have a dedicated team of detectives, and specialist search officers, whose sole objective is to find Cope safely.

“Our appeal to the public is to be vigilant, and to let us know if they have seen the man pictured.

"Patrols by local officers are being stepped up, and members of the public can raise any concerns with them."

GMP has teamed up with the independent charity Crimestoppers to offer a reward of £25,000 for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Michael Cope.

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 0161 856 5092 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A Home Office post mortem concluded Linzi died as a result of pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.

David Sargeson (born 24/8/86) of Sarah Street, Eccles has been charged with perverting the course of justice.

Craig Blackburn (born 20/7/87) of Ivy Street, Eccles has been charged with assisting an offender.

The 27-year-old man arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been bailed until 15 August 2013 pending further enquiries.

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