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Heartache for community after second girl from same school dies in water tragedy

The two girls tragically lost their lives less than a year apart

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The families of two teenage girls along with their local community have been left heartbroken after they both died in water-related tragedies just less than a year apart.

Abbie Walton, 15, died after getting into difficulty in the River Etherow on Wednesday night, June 14th.

Emergency services rushed to the scene where they pulled the teenager from the water near Hodge Lane, in Broadbottom in Tameside. She was sadly pronounced dead despite the best efforts of paramedics attending to her.

Tributes have flooded to honour the youngster described as having the ‘kindest soul’ who was a pupil at Copley Academy in Stalybridge.

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In a message posted on social media on Thursday afternoon, June 15th, the school wrote: “Copley Academy have been made aware of the tragic news that one of our students lost their life last night.

“We offer our deepest sympathy to all of those involved in this tragedy. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families, loved ones, friends and local communities affected at this extremely sad time.

“Copley would like to offer our support and also the support of a specialist team.”

Abbie’s death comes less than a year after Lucy Smith, another Copley Academy pupil, drowned after trying to help a friend who got into difficulty in the water at Carrbrook Angling ponds after a group went swimming there.

David Dixon / Geograph

Lucy Smith died on August 15th, 2022, in the ‘tragic accident’, around six miles away from where Abbie died.

Detective Inspector Steven Horton from Greater Manchester Police told the inquest it had been a particularly hot day. The group started playing in the water, but things ‘very suddenly’ went wrong.

“They were playing and dancing in the water and everyone was in good spirits. Phone footage taken at the time all supports that they were in the water having a good time,” he said.

He added that the tone of the footage quickly changes and is turned off when it becomes apparent that someone is in difficulty in the water.

David Dixon / Geograph

“They were all playing in the water when one of her friends got into difficulty and Lucy had gone to try and assist her,” Detective Inspector Horton previously told the inquest. 

As she was trying to help she got into trouble and her friends tried to help her but she had gone under the water and didn’t surface.

Coroner, Christopher Morris, gave a conclusion of Lucy’s death being a ‘tragic accident.’ “There is little as tragic as this case before the court of a young person with their whole life ahead of them,” Mr Morris said.

In a statement following Ms Smith’s death, Copley Academy said: “Copley Academy are aware of the devastating news that a young member of our academy community sadly lost their life after getting into difficulty in open water on Monday evening.

David Dixon / Geograph

“We want to offer our deepest sympathy to all of those involved in this tragedy. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families, friends and local community at this extremely sad time.

“We would like to offer support and the support of a specialist team. To access this support or if you need anything else please let us know.”

Residents in the village of Broadbottom described their shock on Thursday, after it emerged that Miss Walton was the second youngster to die in that section of the river in less than a decade.

In July 2016, Jack Pullen, 16, from Hattersley, died after getting into trouble in the same stretch of water at Broadbottom Rocks.

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Longdendale Councillor, Jacqueline Owen, issued a warning to the community, urging all young people ‘wanting to swim’ to use public pools, as she highlighted the dangers of swimming in open water.

She said: “On behalf of the Longdendale Ward Councillors, I would like to extend our condolences to the family, friends and the whole Broadbottom community, following the tragic incident yesterday evening. We are all shocked to hear about this terrible loss.

“Sadly, this is not the first death of a young person in the River Etherow. We would use all young people wanting to swim to use public pools; as open water swimming can be very hazardous.”

In an update on Wednesday night, GMP said they were not treating Miss Walton’s death as suspicious. They added that officers are continuing to support the family during this ‘incredibly difficult time.’


Stagecoach hiring over 100 new bus drivers for Bee Network with £31k salaries

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Stagecoach Manchester is hiring over 100 new bus drivers to work from its Oldham depot, following the second phase of the Bee Network launch in March.

You can apply for a range of roles, from positions with no experience required to fully qualified bus drivers.

Successful applicants will receive full training as part of the job, and trainees will get paid to train. Then after only 12 months’ service at Stagecoach, drivers can expect to earn up to £16 per hour, which equates to £31.6K per year, before overtime.

As well as that, drivers that already hold a PCV licence may be eligible to receive a £1,200 joining bonus.


There’s also a host of other benefits available to all Stagecoach employees, like 28 days paid holiday, generous pension and free Stagecoach bus travel for successful applicants and a companion.

Rob Jones, Managing Director at Stagecoach Manchester said: “Expanding our offering in Oldham means we’ll be investing more in the economy and supporting our local community, as well as strengthening our workforce.

“Whether you’re looking for a career change or you’re a fully qualified, experienced bus driver, there’s a role for everyone here in Oldham.

“We’re looking for personable and dedicated drivers who are ready to help us build on the success of the Bee Network and connect the people of Oldham and Greater Manchester with the places and people that are important to them.”


Phil Cornwall, bus driver at Stagecoach Manchester, said: “I’ve been a driver at Stagecoach for 25 years and I couldn’t recommend it more.

“From the perks to the people to the passengers, it really is a great place to work.”

To apply, head to the Stagecoach website HERE.

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Two men charged with murder after torso discovered in Salford nature reserve


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Greater Manchester Police

Two men have now been charged with murder, following the discovery of a human torso in Kersal Dale.

As well as that, more suspected human remains were also discovered this morning, Monday April 29th, in an alleyway close to the railway lines off Worsley Road, Eccles.

This follows earlier discoveries of human remains over the past three weeks, at Kersal Dale, Blackleach Reservoir and Colliery Wood, all in Salford.

Greater Manchester Police

Michal Jaroslaw Polchowski (25/04/1956) and Marcin Majerkiewicz (10/04/1982) both of Worsley Road, Eccles, have been charged with murder.

They are set to appear at Tameside Magistrates Court this afternoon.

While formal identification is still ongoing, the remains found at Kersal Dale are believed to be of a local man in his 60s. The remains found at the other three locations are still to be tested, but police are confident they belong to the same victim.

ACC Sarah Jackson said: “We have had large numbers of officers, staff and specialists working diligently on this investigation over the last three weeks. It has been very much a large, collective effort, with the victim and family at the heart of it from the outset.

“We have specially trained officers deployed to support the family as they come to terms with this tragic news. They are aware of this morning’s further discovery and will continue to be kept up to date with how we are progressing.

“Despite the charges brought today, our work is far from over.

“The scenes we already have established in Bury and Salford will remain in place for much of this week whilst our searches and enquiries continue. Local officers will continue to patrol the impacted areas to provide reassurance.

“We will continue following every line of enquiry to recover and reunite the victim with his family, bringing a dignified end to this terrible scenario.

“I’d like to thank the communities of Salford and beyond for their cooperation throughout this investigation. I know this incident has come as a shock, and the support we’ve had from those in the area is very much appreciated.”

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More human remains discovered in Greater Manchester as police identify victim

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N Chadwick / Geograph

Detectives investigating the discovery of a torso in Kersal Dale have found more human remains around Greater Manchester.

GMP released a statement on the weekend, revealing they had opened four scenes for extensive searches – one of them at a warehouse in Bury, and three in Salford.

Searches took place at Blackleach reservoir, where human remains were found, and a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood.

Officers believe they have now identified the man, who they believe to be a man in his 60s that lived in Salford, and his family have been informed.

Two suspects have already been arrested in connection with the murder probe, with officers saying they are thought to have lived with the victim.

Greater Manchester Police / Facebook

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, Senior Investigating Officer for this investigation, said in a statement at Blackleach reservoir yesterday, Sunday April 28th: “We have continued to make significant progress in our investigation into human remains being found in Kersal earlier this month.

“From day one, our priority has been to identify the man and his family so that we can give them the support and the answers that they need.

“Thanks to meticulous forensic work, we are now confident we have identified the man. Formal identification hasn’t yet taken place, but we believe he is a man in his 60s and lived in Salford.

“Specially-trained family liaison officers have met with his family this afternoon to give them the devastating news, and we will do all that we can to support them at this awful time.

“We believe he is known to the two suspects we have in custody. They have remained in custody for questioning over the weekend, as we work to establish how the victim met this tragic outcome.”

He continued: “We have painstakingly worked to follow up every line of inquiry in this investigation. Over the last couple of days, we have acted on information and had four scenes in place for extensive searches – one of them is at a warehouse in Bury, and three of them are in Salford, including here at Blackleach reservoir.

“Today, we have found some human remains at the reservoir here, and last night a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood. Forensic tests will continue to establish whose remains these are, but we are very confident that this is also the victim in our investigation.

“We have also been searching a house in Winton where we believe the victim and the two suspects lived. We have found evidence that the victim is likely to have died there – most likely in late March.

“While this is significant progress, we know there is still some way to go to complete this investigation. I also recognise details of this case will have been distressing for the people of Salford and beyond – including the officers that are diligently working on this investigation, and most importantly the man’s heartbroken family.

“Local officers will continue to patrol the affected areas, and we will provide updates when we have more information.”

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