THE prime suspect in the David Guilfoyle murder inquiry has spoken of his nightmare after being freed without charge.
The 35-year-old man, who was held in police custody for a gruelling 72 hours before being released on bail, said he feared he would be "another Peter Fell", the Great Harwood soldier jailed for life for a double murder he did not commit.
He said: "All sorts of things were going through my head and I was terrified there would be a grave miscarriage of justice because it does happen.
"I kept thinking I was going to wake up from a nightmare. My life was like a surreal dream and I felt as though someone had stuck a pin in me. All the air had gone from me.
"With every new day I thought David Guilfoyle would turn up alive but it didn't happen and I began to worry that it was all being pinned on me. It has knocked me for six and I am so relieved it's over."
The man, who was arrested at his workplace in Burnley, said police interviewing techniques left him exhausted.
He said: "The questioning was incessant and done at all hours. At one point they even asked me if I was still awake and I said: 'Only just, but not for long.' It has been an absolute nightmare. I'm so pleased it's over."
The Observer knows the man's identity but has agreed not to name him.
He was arrested on Tuesday 7 June, nearly two weeks after wealthy businessman Mr Guilfoyle was last seen alive, leaving the Grey Horse pub in Whalley Road, Accrington, after watching football.
Police quizzed the suspect for 72 hours but he was then released on police bail which was later extended.
He had to wait for nearly three weeks before being told on Monday that he would not be charged.
Thanking his neighbours, colleagues and friends for their support, he said: "I live in a small, quiet street and my neighbours were interviewed by police and must have wondered what was going on. They really rallied round and have been excellent.
"I'm very keen they know I had absolutely nothing to do with this because mud sticks."
Acting Detective Superintendent Steve Brunskill, the man leading the murder investigation, said: "We can confirm the man who had been bailed on suspicion of murdering David Guilfoyle has been released without charge.
"Inquiries are still continuing. There are over 1,000 leads many of which we have investigated.
"We are keen to hear from anybody who saw suspicious activities at Mr Guilfoyle's home before he disappeared."
He confirmed that blood found outside the missing man's £230,000 bungalow in Royds Avenue, Accrington, belonged exclusively to Mr Guilfoyle.
In spite of carrying out a widespread search with the help of sniffer dogs no trace of a body has been found.
Anyone with information should call the incident room on 353628 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.