AN APPEAL over the murder of two schoolboys in Whiston 40 years ago will be aired on the BBC's Crimewatch Roadshow this morning (Wednesday, September 23).

John Greenwood and Gary Miller were both 11 years old when they were murdered on Saturday, August 16, 1980.

At 7.20pm, the school friends were found by a local dog walker hidden under a mattress on the site of a disused colliery on Pottery Lane, Whiston, which had been turned into a local rubbish tip.

The area is now known as Stadt Moers Park.

Both boys were taken to Whiston Hospital, where John Greenwood died in the early hours of Sunday, August 17 1980 and Gary Miller died on Wednesday, August 20.

Post mortems revealed that both boys had died as a result of head injuries.

A new appeal was launched in October 2016 after Merseyside Police’s Serious Crime Review Unit was given new information into the murders.

In August, ahead of the 40th anniversary of the attack, police said 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’, who was also aged around 10-15, and 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.

In addition detectives are 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.

Detectives from Merseyside Police will appeal for anyone with information to come forward on Crimewatch Roadshow this morning at 9.15am on BBC One.

Crimewatch Roadshow is an offshoot of the long-running BBC show Crimewatch which airs on weekday mornings.

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Speaking on behalf of both families in August, John Greenwood’s sister, Debbie Lewis, said: “Our families' hearts were broken 40 years ago when two loved and cherished boys were taken. 40 years later those broken hearts have not healed. I see the pain in my parents' faces. They live with loss and injustice.

“I appeal to our community today, please, it's not too late to do the right thing. You could make the difference. You could help to bring some peace to these broken people. And to the person who killed the boys I say this - let this 40 year anniversary serve as a promise to you that I will NEVER give up. I will never stop working tirelessly to get justice for my brother and his friend. Tell the truth."

St Helens Star:

John with Debbie before he died

John’s dad, John Greenwood, said: “It is a life sentence for all us and I do not have a day's peace from it. Anger and grief plays a part of my everyday life. I am missing him so much. We have not been able to have a normal life like most people do. John’s mum and I were only 28 years old when this life sentence of heartbreak was forced upon us”

Gary Miller’s mum, Alma Miller said: “'I feel I am running out of time to see justice done.”