A “savage and brutal” killer has been jailed for murdering his neighbour and hiding his dismembered body parts across two different counties.
William Wilkinson, 65, killed Eddie Forrester before hiding his body parts in the days that followed at multiple locations in Lancashire and Cumbria.
Mr Forrester was last seen on CCTV walking his dog on September 1 and police believe Wilkinson battered him with a wooden object repeatedly.
He then dismembered his body in his kitchen and then drove around with the body parts in the back of his van before dumping them in suitcases thrown into woodland.
Wilkinson, who’d had his hair cut and a shave to change his appearance since the murder, was tracked down and arrested while sleeping in his van in Cumbria.
He denied all knowledge of Mr Forrester disappearance or any dispute with him and told police he was just enjoying a holiday in the countryside.
But he was captured on CCTV walking around Blackpool in the days after the murder disposing of carrier bags thought to contain his neighbour’s remains and belongings.
Wilkinson pleaded guilty to murder and perverting the course of justice at a previous hearing and was on Friday jailed for life with a minimum of 19 years at Preston Crown Court.
In a statement released after sentencing, Mr Forrester’s family said: “We cannot believe that this savage, brutal and diabolic murder has happened.
“This was inflicted on our brother Edward - a quiet and harmless individual, who wouldn’t hurt a soul.
“We, as his family, have had to live with what happened to Edward, leading to sleepless nights, nightmares and flashbacks.
“When we were initially told that Edward had been murdered we thought it would be a single act, possibly a punch, an irrational act, someone who would be sorry for what they had done.
“But what we have found to have happened to Edward, to disregard him as a human being and prevent him from being laid to rest as a whole person has sickened our family and is something that we will never get over.
“Edward will be sadly missed and loved by many and we are happy that today, justice has been served.”
Mr Forrester, originally from Scotland, was reported missing from his home in Blackpool, Lancs., on September 2 but hadn’t been seen since the previous day.
When police attended his property in Seafield Road on September 3, they found blood on the door of Wilkinson’s flat downstairs.
When they entered the flat, Wilkinson wasn’t present but they found traces of blood at the door and evidence of a clean up.
Forensic experts later found Eddie’s blood in other areas of Wilkinson’s flat, including the carpet, walls, skirting boards and stairs, as well as in the communal hallway.
Cops also found a broken wooden stick with a heavy metal bung at one end in a bin liner.
Police said Wilkinson used the stick - thought to be the murder weapon - to strike Eddie to the head multiple times.
He was arrested by officers from Cumbria Police in Windermere on September 5.
During his initial police interviews he denied knowing where Eddie was and denied having any dispute with him.
CCTV footage showed Wilkinson walking around Blackpool on September 1, 2 and 3, disposing of carrier bags thought to contain Eddie’s remains and belongings.
During this period, Wilkinson was seen out shopping, going to a car boot sale, going to a pawnbrokers and even coolly placing bets at a bookmakers.
He also went to the barbers and changed his appearance from having long hair and a beard to being clean shaven with a crew cut.
Wilkinson also used his white Peugeot Boxer van to drive to a number of locations around Blackpool and Cumbria to discard of evidence, including his victim’s remains.
Wilkinson was charged with murder and later further charged with perverting the course of justice.
He continued to deny any wrongdoing at this stage, although he did say “good luck” to an officer as he was being led back to his cell.
On September 13, Lancashire Police were contacted by neighbouring force Cumbria Constabulary to say that they had found partial human remains in a suitcase.
Further discoveries were made in Cumbria over the following days and weeks, which turned out to be Eddie’s.
DS Mark Haworth-Oates from Lancashire Police said: “Sadly, for Eddie’s family, some of his remains were never found, and such is the passage of time that it is unlikely that they ever will be.
“William Wilkinson had his chance at the outset, to do the right thing, to assist the Police in recovering the remains and to allow the family and friends of Eddie the opportunity to properly lay him to rest. He never took that opportunity.
“Instead, he frustrated the investigation, destroyed evidence and only admitted his guilt in the face of overwhelming evidence against him.
“William Wilkinson was a man of previous good character and only he knows what happened on that Friday afternoon that led him to commit this most appalling crime.
“I welcome the life sentence imposed upon him today and hope that the family and friends of Eddie can have some comfort knowing that the person responsible for the offence will likely never be released.”