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Daily night editor urges readers to help solve 40-year-old mystery

A regional journalist has urged his newspaper’s readers to come forward and help solve the mysterious death of a teenager 40 years ago.

John Williams, night editor of the North Wales Daily Post, says it is “vital” anyone with new information about the death of Peter Watts comes forward, after recalling an interview he conducted with the boy’s parents following his disappareance.

Peter, 15, vanished from his Colwyn Bay home on 18 January 1976, and was discovered hours later dying in an underpass in Euston, London – more than 230 miles away.

He had suffered a major head injury and broken ribs, which were consistent with a fall, but his clothes and body were impeccably clean.

The Post's report of Peter's death in 1976

The Post’s report of Peter’s death in 1976

Peter’s parents died without ever finding out the truth about his death.

Four decades on, John recalled interviewing them at the time of Peter’s disappearance while a trainee reporter on the North Wales Weekly News.

He told the Post: “It goes without saying that this must have been a truly awful time for Peter’s parents. Even so, they were gracious enough to grant me an interview in the hope that it would keep the crime in the news.

“At the time, I was a trainee reporter on the North Wales Weekly News, and had been more used to covering church flower shows than crime at that point in my career. Then Peter Watts died, and a lot of people of my generation did a lot of growing up.”

The inquest into Peter’s death returned a verdict of “murder by some person or persons unknown”, but in the four decades since no new information has come to light.

He had bought a return ticket from Colwyn Bay to Chester at 4pm on the day he disappeared, but there were no reported sightings of him on the train, which left at 5.18pm that day.

The next reported sighting of Peter was in the underpass, where he lay seriously injured. He was taken to hospital but later died.

Peter had been found by a taxi driver in the vehicles-only underpass. His wallet, watch, ring, comb and spectacles have never been found.

John added: “Despite his parents’ devastation, they were welcoming and polite, articulate and thoughtful. Their overwhelming message was that someone somewhere knew the key to all this.

“They had to come forward and, if anyone knew anything, they should contact the police. That message is as vital today as it was 40 years ago.”