Linzi Ashton murder: Michael Cope 'could be sleeping rough'

Michael Cope A reward of £5,000 has been offered for information about Michael Cope

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A man wanted over the murder of his ex-partner in Salford "could be sleeping rough" near a Greater Manchester canal, police have said.

Michael Cope is being sought over the death of Linzi Ashton, whose body was found at her home on Saturday evening.

Police said the 28-year-old suspect was last seen on the same day in Boothstown, near the Bridgewater Canal.

He said more than 30 addresses had been searched by police since Mr Cope was "identified as a suspect".

Two men have been charged with assisting an offender in relation to Mr Cope's disappearance.

A third man arrested on the same charge has been bailed pending further inquiries.

Ch Supt Kevin Mulligan said Mr Cope had a "good knowledge of the pathways around the Bridgewater Canal" and may be using it "between Winton and Leigh".

He was last seen near The Moorings pub on Booth's Hall Way in Boothstown.

"He could be sleeping rough [and] we urge people to call the police if they notice any suspicious behaviour around their outbuildings, sheds or gardens," said Mr Mulligan.

'More and more desperate'

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said officers were searching properties and public land around the canal and boats on the water.

Linzi Ashton Linzi Ashton was found dead on Saturday evening

He added that leaflets featuring Mr Cope's details had also been "dropped in different parts of Salford".

Mr Mulligan said it was "vital we find and speak to" Mr Cope, as there was a danger that he could become "more and more desperate as the manhunt continues".

"If Cope is seen, he is not to be approached, as we do believe that he is dangerous," he said.

A £5,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of Mr Cope.

A post-mortem examination found Ms Ashton died as a result of pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.

She had been seen out in public with Mr Cope on Friday, police said.

She made an allegation of rape against him in April and reported an assault by him in May.

Greater Manchester Police has referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

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