Boy Murdered on Skegness Beach

murdered_skegness_boy1January 1999

A 33-YEAR-OLD local man was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the murder of 15-year-old Skegness boy, Christopher Swales.
He appeared before Skegness magistrates on Wednesday, when police were granted a warrant of further detention, allowing them a further 36 hours to continue their inquiries.

The boy’s body was found by a beach cleaner at about 7.45am on Sunday on Skegness beach. When discovered, the body was lying face-down in the sand near the North Parade car park.
Police cordoned off the area, and the body was taken to Boston Pilgrim Hospital where a post mortem was carried out by Home Office pathologist, Dr Clive Bouch. Police confirmed death was the result of a physical attack.
A media appeal went out in an attempt to identify the body, said at the time to be that of a young man, aged 16 to 20.
Night club
Receipts found with him indicated he had been at The Street night club on Saturday night. The Police announced on Tuesday the boy was Skegness Earl of Scarbrough High School pupil, Christopher Swales.

Det Supt Nick Howard, heading the inquiry, revealed the identity and age of the boy. He said: “This is the murder of a child and it is a very serious offence.”
Christopher, whose parents are divorced, lived with his mother, Andrea Dreher, on Roman Bank. She works at Skegness Seathorne Primary School.
His father, Brian, a former postman, is a delivery driver for Iceland, Skegness, and lives at Burgh-le-Marsh.
Christopher was said to have been staying with friends at the weekend, but police are unclear as to why it took so long before anyone realised he was missing.
An operation involving 50 to 60 police personnel, including incident room staff, has been mounted, with officers working from 8am until about 10pm to 11pm each day.
House-to-house inquiries have been conducted in the area between Scarbrough Avenue and North Parade Extension, Skegness.
Owner of The Street, Mr Mervyn Cooper, who was interviewed on BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Monday was one of the first to help police with investigations.
Mr Cooper said: “It was a very quiet night and everyone was very shocked” at what had happened.
He said The Street had taken 80 per cent of the business in town that evening. He had supplied the police with CCTV footage of the area not covered by the town’s CCTV system. But nothing untoward was discovered on the tapes.
Mr Cooper described the dead boy as “very, very quiet and inoffensive.” His security staff had never had any reason to correct him, he said.
Mr Steve Elliott, head teacher at the Earl of Scarbrough, said: “Staff and pupils of the school are extremely shocked and saddened by Chris’ tragic death. Chris was a very able boy with an excellent attendance record who was expected to achieve top grades in his final exams this year.”
Letters of praise
The boy had contributed to the school newspaper and received letters of praise for outstanding results. Mr Elliott said: “Chris was a popular lad with a good circle of friends and classmates who are extremely distressed by his death. His brother, sister and cousin also attend the school.”
He went on: “The whole community is affected by a tragedy of this nature and our deepest sympathies go out to his family at this time. We will give all our support to his family and friends.”
On Tuesday, the school was in the process of arranging counselling for those pupils who had difficulty in coming to terms with the tragedy, and were enlisting outside help, as well as the school’s own pastoral system.
Floral tributes have been pouring into the school and are being laid by pupils at the main entrance.
Helping police
Mr Elliott said the school was helping the police in their inquiries. He appealed to anyone with any information to contact Skegness Police Station. General manager of The Street, Mr Andy Wheelhouse, said he was closing the 60’s Bar, a favourite haunt of Christopher, tonight, Friday, and tomorrow, Saturday, as a mark of respect.
The management has agreed to a request from Christopher’s friends to put up a memorial plaque in the bar, said Mr Wheelhouse.

At the time of his death, Christopher, who was 5ft 11in tall, with shoulder-length mid-brown hair, was wearing a blue, round-necked tee shirt with Symposium Average Man in white lettering on the front, blue denim jeans, a white corduroy zip-up jacket and black Airwear boots.
Police are still anxious to hear from anyone who may have seen Christopher in the The Street on Saturday night. Anyone who has any information about the incident, however slight, is urged to contact Skegness Police immediately on 01754 614346.

[follow-up story]

POLICE investigating the murder of Christopher Swales, are still interested in hearing from anyone who saw him in or leaving The Street night club on Saturday night.
They now have sketchy descriptions of a number of people believed to have entered the club some time between 11pm and midnight whom they need to interview.
Two females walked in from the direction of Skegness town centre. One was believed to be wearing knee-length boots and a dark-coloured coat. The second was wearing high-heeled shoes and a coat with a belt.
They also want to interview a female, described as dark-haired and wearing dark shoes and a strapped, low-cut dress.
In addition, there were two men who walked in together.
One was wearing, a light-coloured short-sleeved shirt; the other a long-sleeved shirt and dark trousers.
Police need to hear from these people as soon as possible as they may have information which is very important to the inquiry. They are urged to telephone 01754 614346.


THE FATHER of murder victim Christopher Swales choked back the tears as he spoke of his memories of his son.
“How do you remember your boy? There are a million things, aren’t there? I know we didn’t live together, but we were pretty close,” said Brian Swales at his home in Burgh-le-Marsh.
“He was a sociable lad and there wasn’t an ounce of aggression in him,” he said. “He wanted to go into engineering and he would have succeeded at whatever he wanted to do. We loved him. He was a happy-go-lucky, quiet lad. He was harmless.”
Christopher, 15, a pupil of the Earl of
Scarbrough High School, was found murdered on the beach at Skegness on Sunday morning, having been to the Street nightspot the previous evening.
A post mortem examination later revealed that he had suffered a physical assault, with injuries to his face.
“He was such a smashing lad. We were so proud of him,” said Mr Swales. “He was a 15year-old with the head of an 18,or 20-year-old on him. He was a clever lad and I was not worried about him when he went out because he was level headed and sensible.

“He had just done his mock exams and done very well, with high grades. It’s ever so difficult. They want to grow up and go out,
He spoke of the great support he had received from family and friends.
“Everybody has been marvellous, we have had a lot of support, but on the other hand it’s very hard when the phone does keep ringing,” he said.
He was full of praise for the police who he said had done a thorough job.
“We allow all our children out at night. We all think they will be all right, but it is not the world that it used to be,” said Mr Swales. “You can’t wrap them up in cotton wool. I think we need to know exactly where our children are if we can, without being paranoid.” Father-of-three Mr Swales, a delivery driver for Iceland, recalled how he was told that he had lost his son.
“The worst thing is, I was on my delivery round and I was talking about it and saying I wished it was a world where people could walk safely. “I called round to my ex-wife’s house to find out that it was Christopher.”
It was very distressing for everybody, said Mr Swales.
He echoed the police appeal for witnesses. “If anyone knows when Chris left the Street nightclub, or any information that will help the police it would be very appreciated,” he said.

Man accused in beach boy murder
A 32-YEAR-OLD Skegness man has appeared before the town’s magistrates, charged with the murder of a 15-year-old boy.
Neil Walgate, of Beacon Park Drive, is charged with murdering Christopher Mark Swales at Skegness between January 1 and January 4, 1999, contrary to common law.
Prosecuting solicitor, Mr John Mitchell, successfully applied for Walgate to be remanded in custody for seven days until January 18.
Mr Mark Hudson, representing the defendant, made no application for bail. Reporting restrictions
were not lifted.
Tests revealed on Monday Christopher Swales died as a result of suffocation.
Police are still anxious to speak to anyone who was at the Street night club on the night of his death, and who may have seen or spoken to him.
Insp Nick Howard, heading the inquiry, is extending the search to include the driver of a white car seen on North Parade car park, late on the night of Saturday, January 2, or in the early hours of the morning of Sunday, January 3.
In memory of Chris
FAMILY, friends, and teachers and pupils of Skegness Earl of Scarbrough High School paid their last respects to teenager Christopher Mark Swales, on Wednesday, the day which would have been his 16th birthday.
The funeral of Christopher, who was found dead on the beach near the North Parade car park on Sunday, January 3, was held in St Matthew’s Church, Skegness.
The Earl of Scarbrough High School, where Christopher was a pupil, was closed for the day.
The Rector, Rev John Wickstead, took the service. Head boy and head girl of the school John Hallam and Louise Woollard gave the readings, and headteacher Mr Steve Elliott, spoke about Christopher.
He said the school community had had great difficulty in coming to terms with Christopher’s death. He also spoke of his sense of humour, and said his work and effort at school was an example to others.
Mr Elliott said Christopher was very popular and
maintained the difficult task of working hard at his studies but still being one of the lads.
He added that Chris should be a light to follow. Some of the many tributes from Christopher’s friends were read out by Mr Wickstead.
The service was followed by interment in St Mary’s cemetery, Winthorpe.
At the time of his death, Christopher was wearing a Symposium blue “Average Man” T-shirt. In a recent edition of the magazine Kerrang, it said the band Symposium were to honour Christopher.
Last February, while on stage in Bradford, Symposium vowed to never again play their Average Man single live, but changed their minds when friends of Christopher wrote to them informing them of the tragedy.
The band said they never wanted to release Average Man but were harangued into it by the record company.
Letters from Christopher’s friends asked them to play it for Chris, and the band have said if they can find out which gig his friends are going to, they would like to play it then. They said: “It would be our way of getting to him, wherever he may be.”
A local man has been charged with Christopher’s murder and remanded in custody.


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