The crimes, deaths and court cases that shocked Preston in 2018

Posted on - 27th December, 2018 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Preston News
The death of Ellie-May was one of the most upsetting cases police officers said they had ever worked on

The city has seen some shocking and harrowing cases throughout 2018, here we look back over a busy year for the police, courts and lawyers involved.


Some of these cases remain unsolved while others resulted in dramatic scenes in Preston Crown Court.

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A Fulwood fight that ended in tragedy

January began with a murder investigation. 36-year-old Gareth Roberts was found with serious injuries at a house in Levensgarth Avenue, Fulwood.

He later died in hospital and police began a murder inquiry – but after arresting two people on suspicion of murder they announced in September the police investigation was over and Mr Robert’s death was being passed to the coroner to record a verdict.

Gareth Roberts died after an incident at a house in Fulwood - two people were arrested on suspicion of murder
Gareth Roberts died after an incident at a house in Fulwood – two people were arrested on suspicion of murder

Friends and family of Mr Roberts await a verdict in 2019 on what happened to him in the early hours of Saturday 13 January.


Dog attack

In February a dog attack made the headlines, as a pit bull cross type dog attacked a spaniel and a female dog-walker.

The incident took place along Great Green Lane near Clayton Brook Primary School.

Teenage girl punched after getting off the bus

A viscous attack on a teenage girl saw a £5,000 reward offered for information.

The 14-year-old girl got off the bus in Sharoe Green Lane, near the library, when she was punched in the face and knocked unconscious.

The man has never been caught.

Man dies on Flag Market after icy blast grips city

The Beast from the East gripped the city in its icy chill and led to the death of a man after he collapsed on the Flag Market.

Tributes were paid by the Foxton Centre as they confirmed the man, in his 60s, had received help from them in previous days.

Sex attack off New Hall Lane

Mercer Street was taped off in mid-April, as a woman was sexually assaulted at 9.20am.

She had been on her way to work when a man grabbed her.

He has never been caught.

‘One punch’ death

Emergency services flooded Fishergate Hill and the Clifton Hotel during 19 May. Jonathan Palgrave was taken to hospital and died as a result of a punch to his head – which had been inflicted two days earlier.

Paul Ellerker
Paul Ellerker

In September, Paul Ellerker admitted the manslaughter of Palgrave and was jailed for four years and three months.

Acid attack in Ribbleton

A 35-year-old man was sat in his car when an unknown substance was sprayed in his face.

The incident which took place near Ribby Lodge in Ribbleton Avenue on Wednesday 13 June remains unresolved.

Girl mauled by dog

Little Tillie was left scarred after a cross-breed dog attacked her from a front garden in Ribbleton.

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She needed hospital treatment and had fractured skull.

Tillie puts on a brave face in the days after the attack Pic: Blog Preston
Tillie puts on a brave face in the days after the attack Pic: Blog Preston

A 40-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of having a dangerously out of control dog following the incident in Westfield Drive in July.

Brockholes Brow crash driver jailed

Mohmed Salman Patel was jailed for the death of Rachel Marie Murphy and Shelby Lauren Maher.

The 23-year-old and 17-year-olds were hit in Brockholes Brown in April 2016.

Rachel Murphy and Shelby Maher

Rachel Murphy and Shelby Maher

Patel denied causing death by dangerous driving but was found guilty at Preston Crown Court after a re-trial.

He has now begun a six year prison sentence, which he is due to appeal against.

Stoneygate rape

Following a Friday night out a 34-year-old woman was raped down the side of Hogarths and Preston Minster.

A 29-year-old man from Chorley was arrested after the incident on Saturday 25 August and released pending further enquiries.

Delivery driver crushed to death

Making a routine delivery to Blessed Sacrament Primary School in Ribbleton was the last act of Paul O’Donnell.

Police at the primary school in Ribbleton Pic: Stephen Melling
Police at the primary school in Ribbleton Pic: Stephen Melling

The delivery driver died at the school gates on Tuesday 18 September.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation continues.

Shotgun blast in Ribbleton

Gun crime is relatively low in Preston compared to other cities in the North West.

So when a shotgun blasted through the door of Browning Road off Ribbleton Lane it was a shocking event. No one was hurt in the incident.

Police launched a major investigation and arrested a man and a woman following the incident on Tuesday 23 October. All those arrested were released pending further investigation and police continue their investigations.

Longton schoolboy attack filmed

Video footage of a teenage gang beating a boy with a club and punching him was shared widely across social media.

Lancashire Police launch an investigation after the clip emerged from Longton.

The boy in the grey sweater attacks another with a club

A second attack saw a mother speak to Blog Preston about the injuries her son received a week earlier.

Toddler tied up and ‘caged’ by cruel couple

A couple who caused the death of their 19-month-old daughter were jailed in November.

Ellie-May Minshull Coyle was found in March at her home in Ward Street, Lostock Hall.

Ellie-May Minshull-Coyle

Her mother, 19-year-old Lauren Coyle, and her boyfriend at the time Reece Hitchott, were both jailed for 10 years for causing or allowing the death of Ellie-May and of cruelty to a child.

The toddler was found tied up with a duvet and caged in her cot in what police said was one of the worst cases they had ever seen of child neglect.

The Ashton smotherer

An 88-year-old woman was left malnourished and eventually smothered to death by her son.

Bernadette Green’s body was found at their home in Ashton-on-Ribble on Friday 18 May.

Police initially didn’t class the death as suspicious but a post mortem showed Bernadette had been suffocated.

John Stephen Green has been jailed for the murder of his 88-year-old mother

John Stephen Green, 65, was charged with murder and after a trial was jailed for life.

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