Linzi Ashton murder: Three arrested in the hunt for Michael Cope

Police granted extra time to question the 25-year-old man arrested on Monday

Officers have been granted more time to question the 25-year-old man arrested on Monday as two other men aged 26 and 27 were also arrested on Tuesday evening, police have confirmed.

All three remain in custody on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Detectives are continuing their search for local man Michael Cope, who is wanted for questioning in connection with the “sustained and vicious” murder of mother-of-two Linzi Ashton.

Police have appealed for help in trying to trace Cope after Ms Ashton's body was discovered at her home in Winton, Salford on Saturday. On Tuesday Greater Manchester Police (GMP) released CCTV footage of him at a shop purchasing snacks just hours before it is believed the young mother was murdered.

The CCTV images show him buying food and drinks from Best One on Liverpool Road, Eccles, at about 10.45pm on Friday.

In the video Cope can be seen wearing a black coat with the hood pulled up over his cap whilst buying bags of crisps and fizzy drinks.

Cope was in a brief “acrimonious” relationship with Miss Ashton, a barmaid at the Duke of York pub in nearby Eccles.

Police had been seeking to arrest Cope since the end of April following a complaint of sexual assault made against him by Ms Ashton.

Chief Supt Kevin Mulligan said: “Our efforts to trace Michael Cope are ongoing and we have released this footage in the hope that people may recognise the man filmed, whom we believe to be Michael.

”We believe that this sighting is from before Linzi's murder, and we also believe that at some point on Friday night he was with Linzi.

“At this moment Cope knew that he was wanted by police, which is why we think he is wearing a hooded top. It is also possible that Cope will have changed his clothes since this sighting.

”I also want to reiterate that Cope is a dangerous man and should not be approached. Anyone who sees him should call 999 immediately.“

Independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a £5,000 reward for anyone who has information leading to his arrest and conviction.

”His picture has been widely circulated but he has still not handed himself in, so it likely that he is being offered sanctuary by his associates. That is why we are announcing this reward of £5,000 for anyone who has information leading to Cope's arrest and conviction,“ Mr Mulligan added.

”I would also to repeat what we have said before to anyone who is harbouring Cope that we will take action against you. You might think you a doing a mate a favour, but do you really want to spend time behind bars for this man? We will also be working with our partner agencies to look at evicting anyone who is using their property to offer this man safety.“

Mr Mulligan said GMP's handling of Miss Ashton's case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower