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The Cold Cases – four murders which remain unsolved years after they happened

Murder investigations are usually solved quite quickly but there are a handful of probes on Merseyside for which no one has ever been brought to justice.

They are the cold cases – files which remain open many years after the crimes were committed.

Today, the ECHO focuses looks at four murder investigations which have never been brought to a conclusion.

1. James Stanton stood no chance against two masked gunmen as he sat in his work office – at Aintree Commercial Vehicles, on Ormskirk Road.

James Stanton murdered in Aintree

The 58-year-old was shot in his back and head at around 6pm on July 2, 2006.

A dad-of-four and grandfather to eight, detectives think he was not the intended target, but the killers probably meant to send a message to the business.

Officers believe two men were responsible for his murder and that they left the scene in a blue Toyota Avensis, stolen from Sefton Street, Liverpool , two months before the murder.

The vehicle was found burnt out on Blindfoot Road, in Rainford, the following day.

Merseyside Police issued numerous appeals for help to solve the murder before turning to a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction.

Ten callers rang the police, with some giving the same name to officers as being implicated in the killing, but still there wasn’t enough evidence to put a suspect in the dock.

Last month, Detective Superintendent Dave Brunskill, who has the cold case file on this unsolved murder, said: “James Stanton was killed in cold blood 11 years ago and his wife, Jean and family are still struggling to come to terms with their loss.

“They will never rest until those responsible for his death are arrested, charged and brought before the courts.”

Police are offering a reward of £20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for his death.

2. Joey Peloe was shot dead on his doorstep by a gunman who has never been caught.

Joey Peloe, who was shot dead on his doorstep in Speke

The 45 year-old was met by a lone assailant who fired when he opened the door of his home.

Despite being seriously injured Joseph – known better as Joey – stumbled to get help, reaching Speke Police Station, 100 yards from his home on Little Heath Road.

Officers gave Joey first aid but he was too badly wounded.

He was taken to Whiston Hospital where he later died.

In 2006, Liverpool Crown Court heard that two Speke men planned the murder after a petty fall out with Joey over a woman.

A witness told the court how the dispute flared up one night in a Speke pub.

He recalled a row in the Noah’s Ark pub when Joey was thrown out. The witness claimed one of the men then said that Joey “would be dead by the end of the year”.

Jimmy and Sharon Peloe appealing for information over their brother Joey’s death

The men were both cleared of the murder after the judge directed the jury to find them not guilty.

A £10,000 has previously been offered for anyone who can provide information which leads to a successful prosecution of the killer.

Detectives are keen to speak with a man seen talking to Mr Peloe outside his home 20 minutes before he was shot.

It is thought the man may hold vital information.

In recent years, Jimmy Peloe, Joey’s brother, has issued family appeals , saying his sibling was “no angel”, “but that he wasn’t a criminal or somebody involved in drugs.”

3. A £10,000 reward remains on the table for vital help to solve the murder of 23-year-old Paul Pike.

Paul Pike who was shot dead in Waterloo

Merseyside Police offered the financial incentive last year to help find those responsible for the killing in Crosby .

Paul was gunned down in front of his girlfriend in a drive-by shooting , shot as he sat behind the wheel of his red Ford Transit van at traffic lights outside the busy Liver Pub on Saturday, June 5, 2010.

The van was on Crosby Road North at its junction with South Road when a silver Audi TT, stolen previously from North Wales, pulled up alongside and shots were fired into the van.

It is thought the gunmen drove away, then turned around and came back towards the van firing further shots.

Paul’s girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat of the van, received minor injuries from flying glass.

The Audi was found abandoned and burnt out a short time later in Fairfield .

Detective Superintendent Neil Bickley, who is leading the investigation, said last year: “In the last six years we’ve made a number of arrests, but I am still very keen to talk to anyone who was around at the time of the shooting.

“We have had a great response from previous appeals and managed to identify all of the drivers we appealed for, but I am sure there is more information out there.

“The offer of the reward could be strong incentive for someone who knows who is responsible for Paul’s murder, which has caused a great deal of pain and suffering to his loved ones, to do the right thing and come forward.

“We believe this was a targeted attack and, as such, the people out there who know what happened six years ago today may be in a different position now.

“Loyalties and allegiances change and I would encourage those who do know who was in that Audi TT that night to do the right thing and let us know. Six years on, Paul’s family and friends are still dealing with his loss.”

4. A murder described by detectives as “one of the most brutal and disturbing crimes ever seen on Merseyside” remains unsolved – 12 years on.

Lucy Hargreaves

Mum-of-three Lucy Hargreaves was asleep and lying on a sofa in the living room of her home in Walton when three masked men burst inside the property and shot her.

The 22-year-old was then doused in petrol and set alight before the killers fled in a getaway car.

On the 12th anniversary of her death, earlier this month, police appealed for help to catch the killers.

During the collapsed trial of two suspects it emerged that the apparent motive for the killing was a targeted attack against Lucy’s partner, Gary Campbell.

It was alleged that the murder was retribution for an incident in 1993 when Mr Campbell was a passenger in a stolen car that hit and killed a four-year-old boy.

He spoke to the ECHO, in 2008, insisting he would have “gladly taken the place” of his girlfriend.

Lucy Hargreaves with two of her children

Mr Campbell said then: “I know they came in that house looking for me. I wish we could have swapped places that night.”

As part of the investigation, detectives still want to trace fugitive Kevin Parle as they believe he could have information which could assist with their enquiries.

It is thought that Parle, now 37, may be living abroad.

There is a European arrest warrant out for his arrest in relation to both Lucy’s death and also the death of 16 year-old Liam Kelly who was murdered in Dingle in June 2004.

Parle is described as white, 6ft 5in tall with a broad build. He has blue eyes, ginger hair and a one-inch scar on the left side of his head.

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