POLICE investigating the murders of two Whiston schoolboys in 1980 are appealing for potential witnesses to come forward who they believe could have vital information.

Last October, a fresh appeal had been issue by police over the murders of 11-year-old boys John Greenwood and Gary Miller, who were brutally attacked and left for dead on the site of a disused colliery on Pottery Lane on Saturday, August 16 1980.

A dog walker had found the pair hidden under a mattress at around 7.20pm on that evening on a site that was used as a rubbish tip and is now known as Stadt Moers Park.

The 11-year-olds were taken to Whiston Hospital but John died in the early hours of Sunday, August 17 1980, and Gary died three days later on Wednesday, August 20 1980. Post mortem examinations revealed that both boys had died as a result of head injuries.

Last October's appeal was issued after Merseyside Police’s Serious Crime Review Unit was given new information into the murders.

A number of people have since been spoken to by officers but detectives are keen to speak to potential witnesses who they believe could have information which is vital to the investigation.

They are specifically looking to trace two boys who, a witness has told police, were seen being assaulted by an older male outside Whiston Health Centre in July 1980. It is believed that the boys were aged between 10 and 15 at the time.

Officers also want to speak to a boy, called either ‘Duffy’ or ‘Cuffy’, also aged around 10 to 15, who was in the company of another boy at the rear of the Labour club in Whiston on the day that John and Gary were found.

And detectives are also keen to trace anyone who attended the 28th St Helens (1st Whiston) Scout Group (latterly known as the 2nd Knowsley Scout Group) in 1980 or anyone who attended Halsnead junior school with Gary Miller and John Greenwood around the same time.

Detective Chief Inspector John Middleton said: “I appreciate that a considerable amount of time has passed since the murders of John and Gary but their families have had to live with the agony of losing their children ever since.

“Since the new appeal was launched last October we have spoken to a number of people who have come forward and as such we have a number of lines of enquiry we are looking to progress.

“We are particularly keen to speak to the two boys who were seen being assaulted by an older male outside Whiston Health Centre in the month before Gary and John’s death and also the boys who were playing at the rear of the Labour club in Whiston on the day they were attacked.

“I would ask people to cast their minds back to 1980 and see if they can remember anything which could assist us with this investigation.

“The families of both boys quite rightly want justice and I am sure the people of Whiston, and Merseyside as a whole, would want to help them get that.

“Any piece of information, however small, could be vital in helping us take this investigation forward.”

Anyone with any information which could help with the investigation are asked to contact Merseyside Police on 0151 777 8652 or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.