Unsolved Murders

Michael Pritchard

Age: 54

Sex: male

Date: 12 Nov 1997

Place: The Cunnery, Kirk Langley, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Michael Pritchard was killed by his own delivery van when a thief stole it and ran him over dragging him down the road.

He had been a delivery driver for Business Express for whom he had been working for 19 years and for the last 16 years he had done the same route.

He had been out delivering parcels and had gone to an address at The Cunnery in Kirk Langley at 3.20pm on Wednesday 12 November 1997.

He had gone along Ashbourne Road and then turned left into Moor Lane and then into The Cunnery. He then went up to the top of The Cunnery and parked his van and got out to deliver some parcels. He had got out with a parcel and walked up a driveway to deliver it, but when he got to the door he became aware of somebody in his van attempting to steal it. He then ran back down the pathway and attempted to stop the person stealing his van, but all the doors were locked so he stood in front of it.

The driver then tried to encourage Michael Pritchard to move but when he didn't, he drove over him and dragged him 50 yards down The Cunnery. Michael Pritchard died at the scene from head injuries.

His van had been a white Sherpa 200, registration R763 FOJ, with Business Express livery and was found abandoned soon after in Brun Lane.

As well as the man that stole Michael Pritchard's van there was another van, thought to have been an E registered Bedford Rascal van, in which there were two other people. It had also been in The Cunnery and had driven off with Michael Pritchard's van.

After running Michael Pritchard over, the two vans drove back down The Cunnery and into Asbourne Road and then along the A52 and into Brun Lane about two miles away, where Michael Pritchard's van was dumped. The man that had stolen Michael Pritchard's van then got into the Bedford Rascal van which then drove off.

The police said that they had never traced the Bedford Rascal van and also noted that whilst the van was identified by two people that were fairly familiar with vans as a Bedford Rascal van, there was the possibility that it was a similar van of a different make.

The three-people involved in the murder were described as:

Person That Stole Van: White, 19-20 years of age, 5ft 9in tall, with a medium build, a round oval face, and fair collar-length hair that was thick at the back. A pencil sketch of him was published by the police.

Driver Of Bedford Rascal Van: White, 19-20 years old, with fair/ginger collar-length hair and with a gap in his upper-left teeth. It was noted that one witness said that his hair was very ginger. A pencil sketch of him was also published by the police.

Passenger Of Rascal Van: White, aged in his late teens with short light brown hair. One of the witnesses also said that they thought that they saw a plaster cast on his left arm.

It was thought that they might have been stealing the van to use in another robbery.

In May 2003 two people, a 26-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman were arrested in relation to his murder, but no charges were made.

During the initial investigation 20 people were identified as appropriate for arrest and in November 2017 the police said that they were going to question them all as part of a new inquiry.

Michael Pritchard had lived in Blurton in Stoke-On-Trent.

Residents of Kirk Langley later planted at tree in Michael Pritchard's memory.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.