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Arrest after Pendle Skips murder

Arrest after murder at Pendle Skips
Stephen Whitehead

Detectives from Lancashire Constabulary have arrested a 34-year-old man from Burnley on suspicion of murdering a ‘casual employee’ of Pendle Skips.

A murder investigation was launched on Monday (27 July), after police were notified of the discovery of a body at Pendle Skips’ premises on Balderstone Close in Burnley.

Paramedics were called to the site by Pendle Skips employees on Monday morning, after they reportedly found the body of ‘casual employee’ Stephen Whitehead, 49, in the kitchen.

Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene and a post mortem examination later found that Whitehead had died as a result of ‘extensive head injuries’. It is thought that the injuries were caused by a weapon.

As such, the police launched a murder investigation on Monday and this morning (29 July) arrested a 34-year-old man on suspicion of murder. The suspect is currently being questioned in custody. Update 30 July: The man has now been released with no charge.

According to the Lancashire Telegraph, police are now following several lines of inquiry, and think Whitehead may have been sleeping at the premises and was killed after disturbing thieves who have been targeting the industrial estate for diesel and other commodities in recent weeks.

Detective Superintendent Paul Withers of the Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT) said: “We have a large team of detectives dedicated to this investigation and finding out exactly how Stephen Whitehead came about these injuries and the circumstances which led to his death.”

Police said Whitehead had on occasion slept on the business premises, adding that he had “fallen on tricky times” recently and had been staying at friends’ addresses. Detectives said it was unclear where he had been sleeping in the past week, and are calling on anyone who may have seen him over the weekend to come forward with information.

Withers added: “Specialist officers are supporting his family at this difficult time, and I would urge anyone with information about this man’s death to please get in contact with us at your earliest opportunity.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call the police on 101 quoting log 182 of 27 July, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.

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