Video: Killer confesses after seven years that Accrington man's body is buried in Bolton-by-Bowland

Video: Killer confesses after seven years that Accrington man's body is buried in Bolton-by-Bowland

GRAVE HUNT Police and army personnel search for David Guilfoyle’s remains. Top, David Guilfoyle and bottom, murderer Shane Fitzpatrick

GRAVE HUNT Police dogs and a digger join the search at Bolton-by-Bowland

GRIEF Mr Guilfoyle’s daughter Samantha Feeley (front), and her mother Angela Feeley (far left) with Det Chief Insp Steve Brunskill outside court following Fitzpatrick’s conviction in 2006

GRIEF Debbie Fitzpatrick

First published in Hyndburn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

A MAJOR search operation is under way after the killer in a notorious murder case finally told the police where he had buried the body.

Shane Fitzpatrick was jailed for a minimum of 20 years in 2006, after being found guilty of killing wealthy Accrington businessman David Guilfoyle, a year earlier even though no body has ever been found.

Yesterday, Lancashire police’s major incident team and the Army were combing the football pitch-sized wood in the Bolton-by-Bowland area.

A specialist police search advisor was co-ordinating the effort which included a police dog handler, two trained cadaver sniffer dogs, 25 detectives, crime scene investigators, two forensic archaeologists, seven members of the Army’s 33 Engineers Regiment armed with ground penetrating radar.

Despite always maintaining his innocence, Fitzpatrick, a former guillotine operator at Calder Print in Burnley, contacted police from prison on Friday to confess to his guilt and let them know the area the body was buried.

The following day he was taken from his cell at Garth prison in Leyland to a remote spot in the Ribble Valley.

The 43-year-old told Det Supt Paul Withers he had dumped Mr Guilfoyle's body in woods, near Bolton-by-Bowland, on the same night he killed him back on May 25, 2005.

Detectives said Fitzpatrick, who officers said had told them he had found God, 'wanted to do the right thing for Mr Guilfoyle's family'.

Speaking from the search scene, Mr Withers said: "I received a message that Mr Fitzpatrick wanted to speak to the police. I visited him at Garth prison on Friday afternoon. And for the first time he has admitted full responsibility for the murder of David Guilfoyle.

"He said the body had been buried in a shallow grave in a wood in Bolton-by-Bowland.

“He has had lots of time to think about things and he has expressed remorse. He said he was coming forward now as it was the right thing to do.”

Mr Guilfoyle disappeared after driving off from the Grey Horse pub, in Whalley Road, Accrington, in his luxury sports car.

Friends of the international pool player said he had watched Liverpool defeat AC Milan in the Champions League Final on TV in a jubilant mood until around 10.30pm.

He then drove in his convertible green Jaguar XK8 to his Accrington home in Royds Avenue, where police said he was ambushed and killed by Fitzpatrick.

Two days later, Mr Guilfoyle’s girlfriend Debbie Fitzpatrick, his killer’s ex-wife, and best friend Neil Bennett, reported him missing after becoming concerned they were unable to reach him, despite his car sitting in the drive.

The wood, where the searches are taking place, is set down in a dip. It has a rough terrain and a small stream running through the centre. Officers using diggers and spades have divided the wood into sections and are looking for evidence of ‘ground disruption’ with sonar equipment on day four of the search.

Mr Withers said his team will continue to search the area until they find Mr Guilfoyle’s body or are satisfied they have checked the whole area, which is set back around 300 metres from the main road.

He said: “Mr Fitzpatrick said he knew the area because he was a big fell runner and had competed in many fell races in Bolton-by-Bowland.

“I believe he ran for a local club.

“He also said he brought the body up here alone by car. He came to the site on Saturday and confirmed we were searching in the right area. Obviously the terrain has changed a lot in seven years.

“We have informed Mr Guilfoyle’s family about the recent developments and obviously they are very upset.”

Over the last seven years, it is understood the search site has a had a number of trees felled and grass has grown in those areas.

Fitzpatrick, of Lyndale Road, Hapton killed the father-of-one on the doorstep of his own home, after he became angry that his ex-wife Debbie was dating Mr Guilfoyle, his trial was told.

At Preston Crown Court, a jury heard Fitzpatrick went to Mr Guilfoyle's house dressed in dark clothing and a balaclava, and beat him to death.

Despite being charged with murder and eventually found guilty, Fitzpatrick has always maintained his innocence.

As he sentenced Fitzpatrick, Judge David Clarke described the murder as 'a professionally executed killing'. adviser was co-ordinating the the effort which included a police dog handler, two trained cadaver sniffer dogs, 25 detectives, crime scene investigators, two forensic archaeologists, seven members of the Army’s 33 Engineers Regiment armed with ground penetrating radar.

Despite always maintaining his innocence, Fitzpatrick, a former guillotine operator at Calder Print in Burnley, contacted police from prison on Friday to confess to his guilt and let them know the area the body was buried.

The following day he was taken from his cell at Garth prison in Leyland to a remote spot in the Ribble Valley.

The 43-year-old told Det Supt Paul Withers he had dumped Mr Guilfoyle's body in woods, near Bolton-by-Bowland, on the same night he killed him back on May 25, 2005.

Detectives said Fitzpatrick, who officers said had told them he had found God, 'wanted to do the right thing for Mr Guilfoyle's family'.

Speaking from the search scene, Mr Withers said: "I received a message that Mr Fitzpatrick wanted to speak to the police.

“I visited him at Garth prison on Friday afternoon. And for the first time he has admitted full responsibility for the murder of David Guilfoyle. "He said the body had been buried in a shallow grave in a wood in Bolton-by-Bowland.

“He has had lots of time to think about things and he has expressed remorse. He said he was coming forward now as it was the right thing to do.”

Mr Guilfoyle disappeared after driving off from the Grey Horse pub, in Whalley Road, Accrington, in his luxury sports car.

Friends of the international pool player said he had watched Liverpool defeat AC Milan in the Champions League Final on TV in a jubilant mood until around 10.30pm.

He then drove in his convertible green Jaguar XK8 to his Accrington home in Royds Avenue, where police said he was ambushed and killed by Fitzpatrick.

Two days later, Mr Guilfoyle’s girlfriend Debbie Fitzpatrick, his killer’s ex-wife, and best friend Neil Bennett, reported him missing after becoming concerned they were unable to reach him, despite his car sitting in the drive.

The wood, where the searches are taking place, is set down in a dip. It has a rough terrain and a small stream running through the centre. Officers using diggers and spades have divided the wood into sections and are looking for evidence of ‘ground disruption’ with sonar equipment on day four of the search.

Mr Withers said his team will continue to search the area until they find Mr Guilfoyle’s body or are satisfied they have checked the whole area, which is set back around 300 metres from the main road. He said: “Mr Fitzpatrick said he knew the area because he was a keen fell runner and had competed in many fell races in Bolton-by-Bowland.

“I believe he ran for a local club.

“He also said he brought the body up here alone by car. He came to the site on Saturday and confirmed we were searching in the right area. Obviously the terrain has changed a lot in seven years.

“We have informed Mr Guilfoyle’s family about the recent developments and obviously they are very upset.”

Over the last seven years, it is understood the search site has a had a number of trees felled and grass has grown in those areas. Fitzpatrick, of Lyndale Road, Hapton, killed the father-of-one on the doorstep of his own home, after he became angry that his ex-wife Debbie was dating Mr Guilfoyle, his trial was told.

At Preston Crown Court, a jury heard Fitzpatrick went to Mr Guilfoyle's house dressed in dark clothing and a balaclava, and beat him to death.

Neighbours in his street in Hapton told investigators they had spotted Fitzpatrick and his son, Callum, 17, on the night of Mr Guilfoyle's disappearance ‘looking like commandos’, dressed all in black wearing black ‘bob caps’.

Despite being charged with murder and eventually found guilty, Fitzpatrick has always maintained his innocence.

As he sentenced Fitzpatrick, Judge David Clarke described the murder as 'a professionally executed killing'.

He gave Fitzpatrick 20 years behind bars.

Despite several appeals by Mr Guilfoyle's family and police, Fitzpatrick who has always maintained his innocence, has always refused to reveal where the body was buried, until now.

Murder inquiry without a body

A MURDER inquiry was launched after businessman David Guilfoyle disappeared after driving off from a pub in his luxury sports car in 2005.

Friends of the international pool player, said he left the Grey Horse pub, in Whalley Road, Accrington, after watching the Champions League Final on TV, in a jubilant mood at around 10.30pm, on May 25.

The 37-year-old, who had a number of business interests including renting out 12 properties, was reported missing just two days later by his girlfriend Debbie Fitzpatrick, 39, of Hill Street, Baxenden, and best friend Neil Bennett, who had become concerned after being unable to reach him, despite his convertible green Jaguar XK8 being parked on his driveway.

Detectives carried out a search of his detached bungalow in Royds Avenue, Accrington, initially exploring fears he could have been attacked at the house or abducted.

They discovered evidence of a violent assault and quickly came to the conclusion he had been killed.

As the days went on, there were no sightings of the father-of-one or any activity on his bank or mobile phone accounts.

A team of 25 detectives also explored Mr Guilfoyle's crime links as a motive for his disappearance.

He had been convicted of possessing almost 17,000 smuggled cigarettes he had been selling cheap.

He was also jailed for eight months for possessing fake bank notes in 2000.

As more time passed, specialised police search teams were involved and nearby fields, woodlands, reservoirs and sewers were searched.

A £5,000 reward was offered by Crimestoppers to try and entice witnesses to come forward. Mr Guilfoyle's then 15-year-old daughter Sammy Feeley even appealed for anyone with information to contact police and help her locate her dad.

Just weeks later in June 2005, detectives arrested and charged Shane Fitzpatrick, 36, of Lyndale Road, Hapton, with murder - despite not having found a body.

Fitzpatrick, a guillotine operator at Calder Print in Burnley, was found guilty after a three-week trial at Preston Crown Court.

Sentenced to a minimum of 20-years behind bars, the court heard Fitzpatrick, who always denied murder, killed his ex-wife's lover and disposed of his body in a jealous rage.

The jury heard that Fitzpatrick carried out the attack at Mr Guilfoyle's home after he became angry that his ex-wife Debbie was dating Mr Guilfoyle.

Prosecutors said Fitzpatrick killed Mr Guilfoyle on the doorstep of his own home.

The court heard he went to Mr Guilfoyle's house dressed in dark clothing and a balaclava, and beat him to death.

The only evidence linking Fitzpatrick to Mr Guilfoyle's home was a torch found on a path on the right side of the house, which, when examined by forensic experts was found to contain Fitzpatrick's DNA.

The torch was lying on top of a hose pipe, which the police believe was used by Fitzpatrick to clean up blood from the front of the house.

Mr Guilfoyle's blood was found around the front door of his property and traces were found on his driveway and down onto the pavement at the bottom of the drive.

The court heard Fitzpatrick met Debbie in 1988 and they were married for nine years until they were divorced in 2004.

They had three children and he was often violent towards her.

The court also heard damning evidence that Fitzpatrick's behaviour in the days after Mr Guilfoyle's disappearance had been ‘unusual’.

Fitzpatrick was first spoken to by officers on June 3 and was arrested by the police on June 7.

Between those dates, the court heard Fitzpatrick changed the carpet in the kitchen and porch areas of his home.

He also threw away his home computer and was seen buying a roll of bin bags from a local shop.

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