Funeral procession will honour Garstang policeman who found body of Moors Murder victim Lesley Ann Downey

The funeral of a well-known bobby from Garstang who played a crucial part in putting the Moors Murderers behind bars will take place on October 15.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 6:20 pm

Bob Spiers, a well-known officer in Garstang, died at the age of 79 after collapsing in the town centre - a place he had spent many years patrolling.

The funeral procession will pass through Garstang and Catterall on Friday (October 15), giving residents the opportunity to pay their respects.

The cortege, which is set to start shortly after 11.15am, will travel along Garstang High Street before heading towards Preston Crematorium via the Old Police Station at Bowgreave.

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Bob Spiers with a plaque given to him by Lesley Ann Downey's family as a 'thank you' for finding her body on the moors.

Son Scott said: "Dad is going to be missed by a lot of people. He was so well-known and well-liked in the area.

"He was the ideal beat bobby because he loved people and loved meeting and talking to people.

"In recent years, as one of the last remaining officers who worked on the Moors Murders inquiry, he was regularly asked to do interviews by newspapers and TV."

Bob had only been a police officer for a month when he found the body of 10-year-old Lesley Ann Downey on Saddleworth Moor in October 1965.

Forensic officers examine the remains of Lesley Ann Downey after Bob's discovery in October 1965.

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In an interview with the Lancashire Post in 2015 - the 50th anniversary of his grim discovery - he told how the police search on the moors was being wound up after two unsuccessful days.

Deciding to have one last look, Bob noticed what he thought was a stick poking out of a water-filled hollow.

It turned out to be Lesley Ann Downey's arm.

Bob (right) as Her Majesty The Queen visits Myerscough College in the 1980s.

"I said I've found something, but nobody wanted to know," he recalled. "The DS said it was probably a sheep. I said, 'If that's a sheep it's wearing clothes.'"

Had Bob not taken one last look at the site then the full extent of Ian Brady's and Myra Hindley's horrific crimes may never have been unearthed and the pair may have only been charged with one murder - that of 17-year-old Edward Evans.

Further searches of the moors discovered the bodies of Pauline Reade, 16, and John Kilbride, 12, but the remains of 12-year-old Keith Bennett have never been found.

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