Greater Manchester Police have denied claims that a serial killer may be targeting the city's canals and gay village.
The force released a statement after Professor Craig Jackson - head of psychology at Birmingham City University - told The Daily Star
over the weekend that it was "extremely unlikely" that the high number of bodies that have been found in the city's waterways over the last few years were all the result of accidents.
Sixty-one bodies have been pulled from Manchester’s canals in the last six years.
"It is extremely unlikely that such an alarming number of bodies found in the canals is the result of accidents or suicides," Professor Jackson said.
"Canals are not popular suicide spots, especially for men. They are, however, popular dumping sites. And water can be a sure way to erase DNA evidence."
The professor added that the idea that someone was targeting gay men on Cana Street shouldn't be ruled out.
"I think the fact several of these discoveries were made in Manchester’s Gay Village could also be significant. Do we have another ‘gay slayer’ like Colin Ireland on the loose? You couldn’t rule it out.
"The police say none of the 61 corpses found got there under suspicious circumstances. Not one? I find that very hard to believe.
"The other odd fact here is that the majority of the bodies have not been identified or even given a gender on official police records.
"Were the corpses so decomposed as to be unidentifiable? Again, I find that inconceivable and a pathologist would tell you the same.
"I work in Birmingham where there are more canals than Venice. You very rarely hear of bodies of young men being washed up in the city’s water ways. To have so many in Manchester is a big concern and there is every chance foul play is at hand here."
Responding to the claims, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said: "GMP is committed to thoroughly investigating each and every unexplained death in Manchester and approach each one as potentially suspicious in its initial stages.
"Only after a robust investigation into the circumstances of each death would investigators deem one to be 'non-suspicious' and pass the file to the coroner.
"The coroner's post mortem would then ascertain the cause of death, which would then be recorded accordingly by the investigating officer.
"None of our investigations are carried out in isolation and as we have said publicly before, we have established no link between the various incidents recorded."
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