Paul Croft

A dad-to-be who was battered to death by a teenage mob may have been murdered in a trivial row over a scooter, the M.E.N. can reveal.

The gang of up to 15 teenagers beat Paul Croft with baseball bats and metal piping in March 2005. Paul, 19, died from brain injuries a week later  just three months before his partner gave birth to their twin boys.

Now Pauls family have revealed how they received new information last year of a possible motive for the merciless beating.

His sister Chantelle, now 22, said: A person said to me the reason they attacked Paul was that Paul was messing around on a moped that belonged to one of them.

He and a friend were sitting on it, just messing around like teenagers do.They said to him, why are you sitting on the bike, what right do you have to sit on it?Then they did him in.The Croft family, from Eccles, has waited six years for justice  but a wall of silence is protecting the killers.

Bob Ashton, who reviewed the murder for Greater Manchester Polices cold case unit, said he believed a row over a scooter could have been the catalyst which led to Paul’s death on the edge of Swintons Clifton Estate.

He said: There are rumours that the scooter was involved, but it may be a combination of that and the fact that Paul was from Eccles, not the Clifton estate, and his face did not fit.

This murder happened six years ago. The people involved were believed to be aged about 15 at the time.

Someone needs to stand up to them. We couldnt quite get to the culprits because the control on that estate is so intense everyone is frightened. I do understand the pressures but if someone comes forward we could look to re-house them and offer protection.  Â£1.5m investigation and a £50,000 reward for information have so far failed to secure a conviction.

Thirteen people were arrested on suspicion of murder but were all released without charge.

Three were suspected of delivering the fatal blows.

Paul was attacked in an alleyway known locally as the back path next to the Lord Nelson pub in Pendlebury.

A distinctive baseball bat which was forensically proven to be the murder weapon was found nearby.

Pauls mother Sue, 44, has repeatedly appealed for witnesses to come forward.

She said: Im never going to let the person or people who did this walk around thinking, I can get away with this I will haunt them like theyve haunted me

Chantelle Croft Manchester