THE pain Halton McCollin’s family felt on the day he was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity is still as raw as it was six years ago.
The 20-year-old, whose family live in Astley Bridge, was shot in the back of the head in a takeaway in Chester Road, Stretford, just before 9pm.
His devastated family made the heartbreaking decision to switch off his life-support machine three days later on January 22, 2008.
Tragically this was also his younger brother Maxwell’s birthday.
The only comfort Mr McCollin can take is that his son's organs were donated to five people.
Despite police offering a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his murderer — the gunman remains at large.
His father, also called Halton McCollin, said: “We had made arrangements for Halton to come to Bolton to watch the football that night. But there had been a heavy downpour and he had just passed his driving test.
“I told him it was not worth driving home as the motorway was treacherous. I wish I had told him to come.
“His death has brought so much misery to people. It doesn’t get any easier, everything just stops. It’s not something you ever forget. Things don’t move on. You have birthdays, Christmas, and family anniversaries and there’s always a reminder.”
When Mr McCollin, aged 58, received a phone call to say his son had been injured he expected to give him some “stern words” for getting caught up in other people’s trouble. He could never have guessed how serious the incident was.
Halton was a promising footballer who loved life and enjoyed travelling in his free time.
He was due to fly to the Caribbean to visit his grandmother but died just days before.
A Manchester-based football team named Halton Juniors was launched by his friends in his memory. He had two sisters and a brother. Halton’s memory lives on through the five people who received his organs as he was on the Organ Donor Register.
Mr McCollin, who works in Manchester with adults with learning difficulties, said: “There’s five people out there who have received Halton’s organs. We still have that connection and that’s probably the nicest thing. Some of the people were in the North West. You never know how far away you are from someone who is living because of your son.
“Part of him is living on. He met so many people in his short life. He always made people smile, the greatest thing about him was his smile. He was a special person.”
The family has received letters from organ recipients saying how the donation has changed their lives.
Police recovered the silver revolver used in the murder at a house in Parrs Wood Road, Manchester, in 2008. They say it has been linked to another murder and an attempted murder.
Mr McCollin said: “I don’t think the people who did this feel guilty. You don’t carry guilt for this long. I hope the key lies in technology advancing and being able to clean the CCTV footage up. I am pretty sure the police will catch the murderer, but it’s just a case of when. We owe it to Halton to get justice.”
Det Ch Insp Pete Jackson, of the major incident team, added: “The passage of time has in no way lessened the impact Halton’s cold-blooded killing has had on his family, nor has it lessened our determination to see justice done.
“We will act on any new information and there remains on offer a reward of £50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of his murderer.”
Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.