Investigation re-launched into murder of a Stoke-on-Trent man

Murder squad detectives have relaunched an investigation into the death twenty years ago today of a Stoke-on-Trent man.

A team of detectives are working to uncover new evidence that will help bring Michael Pritchard’s murderer to justice.

On Wednesday, November 12, 1997 at 3.20pm the 54 year-old from Blurton, was delivering a parcel to a house on The Cunnery in Kirk Langley when he became aware of his own van manoeuvring behind him.

In an effort to prevent his van being stolen, Michael stood in front of the vehicle. Despite this, the van was driven away at speed, running Michael over and dragging him a considerable distance along the road. Michael died instantly from the injuries he sustained.

The driver appeared to be with two other men, who were in what is believed to be a Bedford Rascal van (E registered).

Michael’s van, a white Sherpa 200 with ‘Business Express’ livery, was driven out of The Cunnery, onto Moor Lane, then onto the A52, and ultimately onto Brun Lane where it was abandoned.

The Bedford Rascal van took the same route to Brun Lane, where it collected the murderer and drove off.

Detective Inspector Toby Fawcett-Greaves who is leading the re-investigation said: "This case has never been closed; as and when information has been received enquiries have been made.

"Although we are 20-years on we would like to get justice for Mr Pritchard’s family who have had to live all of this time with not knowing who murdered their husband and father.

"We would particularly like to speak to the driver and passenger of the Bedford Rascal van. We recognise the difference in their involvement in the crime to that of the murderer, but we believe they have the crucial information we are looking for to enable us to bring the murderer to justice.

"We are confident that the murderer and the drivers of the Bedford Rascal have spoken to people after the event. These people may have vital information that could assist us in our investigation."

The driver of Mr Pritchard’s Sherpa van was described as white, 19-20 years-old, 5ft 9ins tall. He was of a medium build, round oval face, fair collar length hair which was thinker at the back.

The driver of the Rascal van was white, 19-20 years-old with fair/ginger collar length hair and he had a gap in his upper left teeth. The passenger was white, in his late teens and had short light brown hair.

Toby added: "We have previously followed lines of enquiry in the Bradford area which we are re-visiting. We believe there may be people in the Derby and Bradford areas who hold relevant information in relation to this investigation and I would urge them to contact us.

"Did the people involved tell you anything following the incident? Were you friends with them or in a relationship with them at the time? If so please contact our investigation team.

"Forensics have improved a lot over the last 20-years and we will be re-examining material that was originally submitted."

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101, quoting incident number 409 of the 9/11/17.

If you wish to provide information anonymously, you can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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