THE family of a promising young footballer who was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity has pleaded for help in finding his killers.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Halton McCollin, aged 20, who was shot in the back of the head in the China Garden takeaway in Stretford Road, Manchester, in January, 2008.

A promising young sportsman who worked for an insurance firm and who had family in Bolton, Halton was not a member of a gang and police believe he was a victim of mistaken identity.

It is thought that the real targets had been in the takeaway at about the same time, but police believe they ran away after they were given a warning.

The silver revolver used to kill Halton was discovered in May, 2008, when officers searched a house in Parrs Wood Road, Manchester, as part of a separate investigation.

No one has been arrested over his murder despite a £50,000 reward being offered for information leading to a conviction.

Halton’s sister, Terri McCollin, said: “It’s something we have to live with every single day.

“The only thing that would make that any easier is if justice was served.

“The kind of person Halton was — if he could speak, he’d tell us all to move on but we can’t do that.

“We don’t want people to think we’ve forgotten about it or that it’s a cold case.”

She added: “He was 20 when he died so you think he would have been 25 now and his best friend’s getting married — what would he have been doing now?”

Halton’s father, also called Halton, lives in Bolton. Ms McCollin added: “My dad always says The Bolton News has done the most to keep the story alive.”

Det Chief Insp Pete Jackson said: “I firmly believe that there will be people out there who know who is responsible for Halton’s murder and who will have information about the case.

“Five years is a long time and people’s circumstances change. Those who know something and did not want to talk to us before may have had a change of heart and I would urge those people to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 8563691, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.