Could Murder Suspect Be On Canal Paths

5 July 2013, 10:31 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Police investigating the murder of Salford mum Linzi Ashton think he may be avoiding capture by sticking to canal paths.

Michael Cope, 28, is wanted for police call the ``sustained and vicious'' killing of the 25 year old mum-of-two.

Linzi's body was found at her home in Winton in Salford on Saturday.

Police say Cope has ``good knowledge'' of the pathways around the Bridgewater Canal between Winton and Leigh after he was last spotted at The Moorings in Worsley at about 9am on Saturday.

More than 30 homes have been searched as part of the investigation with three arrests made so far.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said:

"It is vital we find and speak to Michael Cope to assist our investigation into the brutal murder of Linzi Ashton.

"Understandably, her family are absolutely shattered by what has happened to her, and we are committed to giving them the answers that they need.

"We have made it abundantly clear that Cope needs to be found and we suspect that he may well become more and more desperate as the manhunt continues.

"He therefore could be sleeping rough. We urge people to call the police if they notice any suspicious behaviour around their outbuildings, sheds or gardens.

``However, we would like to remind people that if Cope is seen he is not to be approached, as we do believe that he is dangerous.

On Tuesday, police released CCTV footage of Cope buying snacks hours before it is believed the young mother was murdered.

A reward of #5,000 has been offered for anyone who might be able to help trace the fugitive.

Cope was in a brief ``acrimonious'' relationship with Miss Ashton who worked at the Duke of York pub in nearby Eccles.

A Home Office post-mortem concluded she died as a result of pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.

Police had been seeking to arrest Cope since the end of April when Miss Ashton made a complaint of rape against him.

Police have charged a 26-year-old man with perverting the course of justice and a 25-year-old man with assisting an offender.

A 27-year-old man arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been bailed pending further inquiries.