Leeds & West Yorkshire

Missing man Bruce Gapper 'probably murdered'

Bruce Gapper Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Bruce Gapper was last seen outside his home in Dewsbury 16 years ago

The disappearance of a man 16 years ago is now being treated as a murder inquiry, West Yorkshire Police have said.

Bruce Gapper, from Dewsbury, was reported missing on 16 March 1999.

The charity Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his killer.

Mr Gapper, 40, was last seen outside his home in Groves Hall Road, Dewsbury Moor, on 14 March.

A force spokesman said: "West Yorkshire Police are treating his disappearance as suspicious and are dealing with it as a murder inquiry."

Det Ch Insp Mark McManus said the lorry driver appeared to have left his house in a hurry on the day he disappeared, leaving behind a half-eaten sandwich and nearly full drink.

"Bruce's car was found by a member of the public on the Monday morning at the junction of Castle Hill Side and Lumb Lane, near the Castle Hill Monument in Huddersfield," he added.

"His bank card was used on a number of occasions after he was last seen, firstly in Heckmondwike, then in Scarisbrick, just outside Southport, and finally in the Morley area."

Mr Gapper visited the Frontier nightclub in Batley on the weekend he was last seen.

Image copyright West Yorkshire Police
Image caption Police believe someone else was using Bruce Gapper's bank card after he disappeared.

Wendy Dixon-Gapper, Bruce's sister, added: "As a family we just want some closure. It is especially upsetting for my father who's now 90.

"He was 75 at the time when my brother disappeared and he doesn't want to depart this world without knowing what happened to him."

Timeline

Sunday, 14 March, 1999

02:30 - Bruce Gapper leaves the Frontier nightclub in Batley.

11:10 - He speaks to his father on the phone.

13:30 - He is seen by a neighbour unloading shopping from his car.

15:30 - A friend calls at Mr Gapper's property and there is no answer.

Monday, 15 March, 1999

03:47 - Mr Gapper's bank card is used at an ATM in Heckmondwike.

06:30 - Mr Gappers's fire damaged car is found parked at the junction of Castle Hill Side and Lumb Lane, Huddersfield.

07:00 - Mr Gapper fails to turn up for work at Dukes Transport in Huddersfield.

Tuesday, 16 March, 1999

13:18 - Mr Gapper is reported missing.

Wednesday, 17 March, 1999

02:49 - Further use of Mr Gapper's bank card at an ATM in Scarisbrick, just outside Southport.

Thursday, 18 March, 1999

Third and final use of Mr Gapper's bank card in the Morley area.

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