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Search for body of murdered businessman David Guilfoyle continues

Detectives searching for the body of Accrington businessman David Guilfoyle after his killer told police where he hid his body are halfway through their search.

Detectives searching for the body of Accrington businessman David Guilfoyle after his killer told police where he hid his body are halfway through their search.

Murderer Shane Fitzpatrick confessed his crime to police at prison last week and told officers he buried Mr Guilfoyle's body in Admiral's Wood in Bolton-by-Bowland.

Fitzpatrick, who was jailed for life in 2006, visited the scene on Tuesday to show detectives the area where he buried him.

A team of around 25 officers are combing and area of land the size of a football pitch with the help of the army, forensic archaeologists and a mechanical digger.

Det Supt Paul Withers, who is leading the investigation, said Fitzpatrick has not discussed why or how killed Mr Guilfoyle but insisted he did it alone.

He said: "He has told us he recently found religion. He's thought about it long and hard. He feels now is the right time for everybody concerned to reveal where he has buried the body.

"Mr Fitzpatrick was brought out here on Tuesday morning. Clearly a number of years have passed since he committed this horrendous offence.

"He has been down to the area and indicated we are in the right area but sadly he can't be more specific about where the body is buried.

"We have probably completed about 50 per cent of the wood and will carry that on until we find him. We have nothing to validate the information that Shane Fitzpatrick has given us."

Det Supt Withers said they have not ruled out reinterviewing Fitzpatrick if there search fails or bringing him back to the site. Police have also said the burial site could have been disturbed by local wildlife.

Det Supt Withers said: "We have been searching since Saturday morning. We have to do it slowly in case we miss any obvious signs and we will hopefully have completed it by the end of this week.

"Clearly we are in an extremely rural area and I would anticipate there would be a lot of wildlife. Sadly I can't rule that out."

Mr Guilfoyle's family are aware of the developments and are being kept fully informed, said police.

Det Supt Withers added: "Obviously they are upset by the developments and are very keen to have David's body back with them so he can be appropriately buried.

"They are understandably upset. It reopens the wounds and the distress from seven years ago."

Police said they believe Fitzpatrick, 42, of Hapton, was aware of the area as he was a keen fell runner.

He denied murder throughout a trial at Preston Crown Court and was said to have carried out a brutal attack on the businessman who was dating his ex-wife.

The prosecution claimed he visited Mr Guilfoyle’s bungalow in Accrington, dressed in black, at night and struck him with force outside.

Mr Guilfoyle was last seen alive after leaving the Grey Horse pub in Whalley Road, Accrington, where he had been watching the Champions League Final between Liverpool and AC Milan.

 

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