POLICE searching for the body of murder victim David Guilfoyle say they have covered half of the land identified as his burial site by killer Shane Fitzpatrick.
Officers and army experts expect to complete the systematic foot-by-foot dig for the remains of Mr Guilfoyle, a wealthy Accrington businessman, this weekend.
They may bring Fitzpatrick back to the scene if their quest fails.
Det Supt Paul Withers, leading the investigation revealed that when identifying the burial site near Bolton-by-Bowland, 43-year-old former Burnley printer Fitzpatrick refused to discuss how or why he killed, except to insist he did it alone.
In total 50 police, army and forensic archaeologists with dogs and a mechanical digger have been searching for Mr Guilfoyle’s body.
Det Supt Withers said: “We surveyed the site on Saturday after Fitzpatrick’s confession.
“We brought him here on Tuesday and he indicated that a football pitch-sized area where he buried the body.
“He could not give precise details of where the body was buried. He just said it was on a flat part and indicated some places. He said the terrain had changed a lot and much of the wood had been felled.
“We have so far searched about 50 per cent of the wood. We expect to complete it by the weekend.
“If we have not found the body, we will have to review where we are. We may re-interview Mr Fitzpatrick and may bring him back here if he is willing. That is an option.
“We don’t know if he is telling the truth. We have to work on the assumption he is. We could not ignore what he said. We have to do it for Mr Guilfoyle’s family.
“This was the first time Mr Fitzpatrick admitted to the murder. He refused to discuss anything about the killing or how he did it other than to say he did it alone without an accomplice. We do not know why he decided to do it now except that he said he had a religious experience and wanted to help the family.
“My focus is only on finding the body. We are doing this for the family who are very upset.”
Fitzpatrick was jailed for a minimum of 20 years in 2006 for the murder of Mr Guilfoyle as he returned to his home in Royds Avenue, Accrington despite the body never being found.
He was arrested after his ex-wife Debbie, then the victim’s girlfriend, and the businessman’s best friend Neil Bennett reported him missing to the police.
Bolton-by-Bowland resident Ashley Bolton, 19, said: “This is a massive shock to the village. Things like this don’t happen round here.”
Christopher Bosonnet,of Bolton Hall Estate the owners of the land, said: “The estate is fully co-operating with the police in assisting them in their search for the missing body. We pray that the search results in them finding the body and very much hope that this will finally provide closure for the victim’s family.”