Murder enquiry launched 16 years after Dewsbury man vanished

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The mystery of a man who disappeared 16 years ago is now being treated by police as a murder investigation.

Bruce Roger Gapper, then 40, was last seen unloading shopping outside his Dewsbury Moor home in Groves Hall Road after 1.30pm on Sunday March 14, 1999.

A friend called at his house later that afternoon but there was no answer. When police searched the home a half-eaten sandwich and nearly-full drink were found, suggesting that Bruce left in a hurry.
He did not turn up for work on Monday morning, the day his red Peugeot 309 was found near the Castle Hill Monument in Huddersfield.

A witness told police the car was not parked there at 11.30pm the night before, so they believe it must have been driven there later.

Bruce’s bank card was used in Heckmondwike, Scarisbrick and Morley - possibly fraudulently - after he was last seen.

Now his family, Crimestoppers and police are issuing a fresh plea for information.

Det Chief Insp Mark McManus, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “We understand that Bruce was a creature of habit and that his social life centred on the Frontier nightclub in Batley which he routinely visited every Saturday night, including the weekend he was last seen.

“He was well known among the community who regularly attended the venue and had associates there who lived in the Kirklees and Wakefield areas. We believe it is among this community that answers may be held about what happened to him 16 years ago.

“At the heart of this is a family who have spent the last 16 years not knowing what has happened to their son, brother and uncle. I would urge anyone with any information, however small it may seem, to come forward.”

The charity Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons responsible for the murder of Bruce Gapper.

Call 101 with information. Crimestoppers are offering £5,000 for information given by June 5 which leads to an arrest and murder conviction. Contact them on 0800 555 111 or