THE body of murder victim Alan Lee Street has been found in one of Accrington’s underwater streams.
It was discovered at 9am on Monday by two contractors from the Environment Agency carrying out a routine inspection of a culvert which runs under Nuttall Street and Victoria Street.
It was lying face down in knee-high water around 50 metres from the end of the culvert which leads to Woodnook Water, off Mount Street.
Police cordoned off the scene and sent underwater search teams down the manhole leading to the stream with cameras, breathing apparatus and other specialised rescue equipment.
A bag was placed around Mr Street’s fully-clothed body to secure any forensic evidence before he was taken to Blackburn for a post-mortem examination.
Fingerprint checks confirmed the body was that of Mr Street, 26, a convicted rapist, of Lime Avenue, Oswaldtwistle.
The cause of death has yet to be established but police confirmed he did not die of natural causes or accidental injuries.
Mr Street’s mum Anne Bennett, 55, of Oswaldtwistle was too upset to comment this week.
His girlfriend Jayne Proctor said: "Too much has already been said about his past and it’s now too late to change that."
Two men have already been charged with Mr Street’s murder after police found bloodstained clothes in a blood-soaked room in a terraced house in Stockbridge Road, Padiham, three days before Christmas.
The main focus of the investigation now switches to the hunt for two other men, long-distance lorry driver Alan Palmer, 43, of Stockbridge Road, and brother-in-law Peter Leonard, 51, of Arncliffe Avenue Accrington, who have not been seen since the night of the killing.
Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter, leading the investigation, said: "The discovery of the body is obviously a significant development and I would like to express my appreciation for the co-operation and information we received.
"In the end the discovery was pure chance as culverts are often left dormant for 10 years or more."
Officers had already searched Rivington Pike, Bolton, land at Piney Lodge, Oswaldtwistle, and Kemp Delph in Stanhill after receiving tip-offs from the public.
And only last weekend 20 members of the mountain rescue and dog-handling teams searched the land between St Christopher’s CE High School and Accrington Academy for clues.
Detective Superintendent Hunter said: "I still want to question Palmer and Leonard and my message to them is simple – hand yourselves in.
"We are as committed as ever to finding you and we will go wherever we have to in order to do so. I intend to pursue you relentlessly and if you fail to heed this strong advice then you will spend the rest of your lives looking over your shoulders – but beware, we will never give up looking for you.
"At the weekend we spoke to Alan Palmer’s close family and even they now admit the most sensible thing for him to do is to surrender himself to the police."
Anyone who has details of their whereabouts is asked to call police on 01282 425001 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
* Kieran Davison, 20, Palmer’s lodger in Stockbridge Road, Padiham, appeared before Burnley magistrates on Christmas Eve charged with murder and was remanded in custody to appear at Preston Crown Court on 6 April. And Alan Palmer’s brother, Ian Palmer, 45, of Whitegate Close, Padiham, appeared before Burnley magistrates on Monday, also charged with Mr Street’s murder. He too was remanded in custody to appear at Preston Crown Court on 4 February.
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