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CCTV shows murder suspect in shop

Detectives hunting a murder suspect have released CCTV footage of him buying snacks just hours before it is believed a young mother was murdered.

A reward of £5,000 has been offered to entice anyone who might be able to help trace prime suspect Michael Cope.

He is wanted for the "sustained and vicious" murder of mother-of-two Linzi Ashton, whose body was found at her home in Winton, Salford, on Saturday.

The footage released by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) shows Cope buying snacks and drinks from Best One on Liverpool Road, Eccles, at about 10.45pm on Friday, June 28.

He is wearing a black coat with the hood pulled up over his cap. He is seen buying bags of crisps and fizzy drinks and appears to be chatty as he completes his purchase with the man behind the counter.

Cope was in a brief "acrimonious" relationship with Miss Ashton, a barmaid at the Duke of York pub in nearby Eccles.

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

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said: "Our efforts to trace Michael Cope are ongoing and we have released this footage in the hope that people may recognise the man filmed, whom we believe to be Michael. We believe that this sighting is from before Linzi's murder, and we also believe that at some point on Friday night he was with Linzi.

"At this moment Cope knew that he was wanted by police, which is why we think he is wearing a hooded top. It is also possible that Cope will have changed his clothes since this sighting. I also want to reiterate that Cope is a dangerous man and should not be approached. Anyone who sees him should call 999 immediately."

Crimestoppers, the independent charity, is offering the £5,000 reward for anyone who has information leading to his arrest and conviction.

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