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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 19 January 2022

Manchester police fight back at 'Canal Pusher' serial killer myth

The situation is going to be examined in a documentary due to air tonight.

MANCHESTER POLICE HAVE fought back at the theory that a serial killer is responsible for the deaths of tens of people whose bodies were found in canals in Manchester.

Channel 4 will broadcast a documentary tonight looking at the phenomenon.

Greater Manchester Police said today that there had been 60 deaths in the canals and waterways of Greater Manchester since February 2008.

It said that a national newspaper had become interested in the situation, and had approached a Professor Craig Jackson of Birmingham University, who was reported to have commented that on the basis of the number of deaths “he could not rule out foul play”, said Detective Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson, head of GMP’s Serious Crime Division.

Detective Jackson said that he has spoken with Professor Jackson “who informed me that he had stated to the newspaper that he could not rule out foul play based on the number of deaths which have occurred”.

I understand his comments went no further than that at that stage and Professor Jackson has limited access to individual case material.

In a statement a few days ago, Jackson said:

What is very important to bear in mind in all these cases is that they have been subject to separate investigations and there is no evidence at all to suggest these deaths are linked or were suspicious.
On some occasions, people have been charged with offences relevant to that particular investigation. Whilst in other cases, it remains uncertain how people came to be in the water, in many other cases the circumstances have been established following thorough investigations. These cases have then been presented at inquests before Her Majesty’s Coroners, and it is for the coroner to determine the exact cause of death. Absolutely no evidence whatsoever of foul play has been established.

He said that coroners have the power to refer any deaths back to police if they suspect foul play, “and that has not happened”.

He has asked Professor Jackson to travel to Manchester to discuss his findings and any information he may be able to add to the enquiries.

GMP have worked with Manchester City Council and other partner agencies to try and understand factors which might contribute to people losing their lives in the water in the city centre.

“Matters which we have previously discussed have involved lighting, safety barriers as well as in some cases alcohol consumption,” said Jackson.

“Further suffering”

In that statement, he said that the police do not want “to cause further suffering and upset to grieving families who may be falsely led to believe from media reporting that there is a linked series of attacks or to cause unnecessary worries to people especially those who live in or frequent Manchester City Centre”.

In the video below, released today, GMP said “there is no evidence that there is a killer or canal pusher is responsible” for the deaths.

They asked anyone with evidence to bring it to the coroner and police to investigate.

Source: GM Police/YouTube

Read: When life means life: ‘God help me. The devil made me do it’>

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