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Murder suspect 'using canal paths'

Detectives hunting a man suspected of murdering his ex-girlfriend believe he may be using canal pathways to avoid arrest.

Michael Cope, 28, is wanted for the "sustained and vicious" killing of mother-of-two Linzi Ashton, 25, whose body was found at her home in Winton, Salford, on Saturday.

Police say Cope has "good knowledge" of the pathways around the Bridgewater Canal between Winton and Leigh after he was last spotted at The Moorings in Worsley at about 9am on Saturday.

More than 30 addresses in the area have been searched as part of the investigation with three arrests made so far.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan said: "It is vital we find and speak to Michael Cope to assist our investigation into the brutal murder of Linzi Ashton. Understandably, her family are absolutely shattered by what has happened to her, and we are committed to giving them the answers that they need.

"We have made it abundantly clear that Cope needs to be found and we suspect that he may well become more and more desperate as the manhunt continues. He therefore could be sleeping rough. We urge people to call the police if they notice any suspicious behaviour around their outbuildings, sheds or gardens.

"However, we would like to remind people that if Cope is seen he is not to be approached, as we do believe that he is dangerous. We also think that he has good knowledge of the pathways around the Bridgewater Canal and the surrounding areas, which is why we have dedicated teams searching the area looking for clues."

On Tuesday, police released CCTV footage of Cope buying snacks hours before it is believed the young mother was murdered.

A reward of £5,000 has been offered for anyone who might be able to help trace the fugitive.

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

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