Lancashire's ex-murder squad chief dies aged 88

Ian Hunter helped solve some of Lancashire's grisliest murders.
Ian Hunter helped solve some of Lancashire's grisliest murders.

A top detective, who helped solve some of Lancashire’s grisliest murders, has died at the age of 88.

Former Chief Supt Ian Hunter’s casebook included investigations into the Handless Corpse, the infamous Black Panther, the bizarre killing of boy soldier Alan Livesey and the brutal slaying of Preston mum Joan Harrison.

And he later chronicled his experiences in a book called ‘Murder in Lancashire’ in which he told the story of 10 of his most intriguing cases.

Born in Aberdeenshire, Mr Hunter was described by former colleagues as “a good old fashioned copper.”

He joined Lancashire Police in 1956 as a 25-year-old and initially served in Wigan and then Huyton before a series of promotions eventually saw him rise to become head of the county’s CID.

Over the course of a 30-year police career Mr Hunter, who lived in Hoghton, helped put scores of ruthless criminals behind bars.

One of those was serial killer Donald Neilson, the infamous Black Panther, who murdered five people between 1971 and 1975 - four of them during armed raids on post offices, including one at Baxenden near Accrington.

He helped capture double killer Neil George Adamson - known as the “Mad Dog of Pudsey” - who was holed up in Colne.

But arguably his best-known case in Lancashire was the capture and imprisonment of up to a dozen members of a worldwide drugs cartel who murdered “Mr Asia” Marty Johnstone and dumped his handless corpse in a flooded quarry near Chorley.

Mr Hunter’s funeral will be held at Charnock Richard Crematorium on Thursday at 3.30pm. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Royal British Legion.