COLD case detectives are to investigate claims a gangland hitman has admitted he shot dead a five-yearold boy in Bolton 13 years ago.

Paul Seddon was found guilty of the murder of Dillon Hull in 1997.

Seddon had been aiming for the boy’s stepfather, but mistakenly shot the youngster in the head.

At his trial, Seddon denied any involvement but was convicted by a jury and jailed for a minimum of 25 years.

As he was led from the dock, he shouted: “I’m just a scapegoat. I didn’t pull the trigger. It wasn’t me.”

But now officers from the Cold Case Review Unit at Greater Manchester Police are to visit Seddon, formerly of Chorley New Road, Bolton, in prison, following claims he has finally confessed from his prison cell.

It is also claimed that Seddon has told police he dumped the murder weapon in a small lake, just a mile from where Dillon was shot in Bankfield Street, Deane.

But Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bottomley, who leads the unit, said: “We will look into what Seddon has allegedly got to say and take it from there. However, we have not received any reports of his confession or a location for the murder weapon.”

Hired assassin Seddon was paid £5,000 to shoot Dillon's stepdad John Bates, who had fallen out with gangland drugs boss Billy Webb.

Dillon was killed as he walked hand in hand with Bates.

Seddon, wearing a motorcycle crash helmet, leapt out of the shadows and fired four shots at the pair. One bullet hit the child in the head and another struck his stepfather, who survived.

At the end of his five-week trial at Preston in 1998, the judge, Mr Justice Forbes, told Seddon: “You brought sudden terror and violence to the residential streets of Bolton on that warm summer’s afternoon.

“You also brought death.

Not to your intended victim. You only wounded him. You brought death to an innocent little boy who had the tragic misfortune to be holding your target’s hand when he opened fire.”

Bates was a small-time dealer and police informant who became a target after falling out with drug boss Webb.

Two other Bolton men, David Hargreaves and Craig Hollinrake, then aged 24 and 25, both from Breightmet, were jailed for 18 years and 16 years respectively for their part in planning the assassination of Mr Bates.

Billy Webb, aged 42, was later shot dead by a hitman at his Wigan home in 2001.