AN amateur sleuth aiming to solve a decades old murder case has retraced the victim’s final, tragic steps.

Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the death of 17-year-old Minnie Stott.

To mark the occasion, local historian David Hargreaves followed her final journey.

Mr Hargreaves, aged 57, who has been researching the unsolved murder, walked from her home in Clarence Street, past the restaurant where her mother worked in Deansgate, to the deserted garage yard off Bradshawgate where her body was found.

Mr Hargreaves, who lives in Blackrod, said: “I have been researching this case for more than five years now. I feel like part of her family.

“Today is almost like going to her funeral.”

The case of Miss Stott gripped Bolton.

The last reported sighting of her was just before 8pm on Saturday, November 16, 1940.

Having left her home in Clarence Street, telling her father, James, she was going to the pictures, the teenager popped into the restaurant where her mum, Alice, worked in Deansgate.

The last words her mother said were to tell her daughter, known to pals as Peggy, not to stay out too late — but the teenager would never return home.

Minnie was found by a police officer behind Parker’s Garage, Bradshawgate. She had been strangled.

Her green scarf, which it is believed was used in the murder, has never been found. More disturbingly, neither was another article of clothing — her blue satin cami-knickers.

The newspapers of the day did not report such things in detail, but there were enough hints to let the reader know the true nature of the attack.

Retired Mr Hargreaves, who has compiled a mass of information on Minnie and has researched her family history, added: “It is probably Bolton’s most famous unsolved murder.

“I would like to turn it into a book at some point. It has taken over my life.”

Mr Hargreaves now hopes to trace police and coroner’s records to add more detail to his story.