Tragic Michael Whittam had been in a long standing relationship prior to his death.
‘Michael was my mum’s partner,” said Laura Morris. “They had been together for nine and a half years.
“He was a nice man who kept himself to himself and was quiet. I wouldn’t have thought he had any enemies because he just lived quietly.”
However, she confirmed mum, Gill from Failsworth, hadn’t been in recent touch. “My gran died recently so she needed a bit of space to grieve. I am not sure when she last saw him but she is in a bit of a mess.
“I probably last saw him around Christmas. All we know is he was found a head injury.
“Because his son (reported to be a qualified doctor) is next of kin, we don’t know anything else. It’s just a case of wait and see as everything has to go through his son,” added Laura, listed as Mr Whittam’s sole friend on his Facebook page.
His sparse social media profile, thought to have only been set-up last month, shows a picture of a smiling, ear ring wearing middle aged man, sporting a tattoo on his right forearm and raising a pint of beer in a toast.
Stunned neighbours on the residential Hey Farm Estate described Mr Whittam as a “pleasant” man who valued his privacy. One acquaintance suggested he was a church goer.
Several confirmed he had lived on the well maintained residential area for two decades.
“He was a private person,” one lady, who didn’t wish to be named, told the Correspondent. “We didn’t see or hear anything. He didn’t have any wild parties that’s for sure.
“He was always very pleasant when you saw him and he would say ‘hello’
“He always let on and used to send a Christmas card each year and not many do that anymore. Everyone is curious as to what has been going on.”
Another neighbour told us: “Our paths crossed all the time.
“We knew Michael and would say ‘hello’ But we weren’t in and out of each other’s houses.
“It is worrying but the police have been round re-assuring people. They have We haven’t seen anything like this before, that’s for sure.”
Residents were informed Mr Whittam’s death was being treated as suspicious before police released their first public statement last Sunday. They were told an unspecified incident had taken place between 23/03/2016 and 30/04 (sic)/2016.
The dead man worked at the United Utilities’ Buckton Castle water treatment plant on Howards Lane, half a mile from where he lived. Known as ‘Mick’ to his work mates, he often made the short journey in his silver Ford Focus.
Confirming all were shocked by news of his death, a site manager directed further questions to the UU press office.
At the time of going to press police were starting their second week of investigations inside the property.