Michael Cope (R) is the main suspect in Linzi Ashton's murder (GMP)
Michael Cope (R) is the main suspect in Linzi Ashton's murder (GMP)

Police looking for a man in connection with the murder of a mother-of-two in Salford are now offering £25,000 for any information on his whereabouts.

Michael Cope, 28, is wanted by police in connection with the murder of Linzi Ashton, who was found dead at her home in Winton on 29 June.

A post-mortem revealed the 25-year-old died as a result of pressure to the neck and multiple injuries.

The independent charity Crimestoppers had initially offered a £5,000 reward for anyone who has information leading to the arrest and conviction of Cope.

Now Greater Manchester Police has increased the offer by £20,000 as they continue the hunt for the suspect.

Police describe Cope as a dangerous man who may have access to a firearm and have warned the public not to approach if they see him.

Chief supt Kevin Mulligan said: "It has now been almost 10 days since Linzi's murder and it is vital we find and speak to Michael Cope to assist our investigation.

"Understandably her family are absolutely shattered by what has happened to her, and we are committed to giving them the answers that they need.

"We hope that the increase in the reward will encourage people who may not have felt able to come forward beforehand to approach us now.

"While our appeal to the public continues, we would also like to make it clear that Cope is dangerous and should not be approached.

"We do not want the public to be overly alarmed, but we have had some information which suggests that Cope has access to a firearm.

"I want to reassure the community that we still have a significant police presence in the area which is supported by armed officers."

Police had previously warned people not to harbour Cope, who has also been known to visit the Leigh area, in and around the town centre.

Police believe Cope was last seen near the Bridgewater Canal the morning Ashton's body was discovered by relatives.

Since Cope was identified as a suspect, David Sargeson, of Eccles, has been charged with perverting the course of justice and Craig Blackburn, also of Eccles, has been charged with assisting an offender.

A 27-year-old man arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender has been bailed until 15 August pending further enquiries.