A police force is believed to be the first in the UK to use a Making A Murderer-style podcast in a bid to crack the unsolved 23-year-old murder of a Stoke-on-Trent man.
The 64-minute episode explores the brutal killing of dad-of-one Michael Pritchard who died in November 1997.
The 54-year-old, of Church Road, Blurton, was dragged to his death as he tried to stop thieves taking his parcel delivery van in Kirk Langley, Derbyshire.
Mr Pritchard, who was working for Business Express, based in Stoke, stood in front of the vehicle as it was driven away at speed and died instantly from his injuries.
Despite one of Derbyshire Police’s biggest ever manhunts and a string of high-profile appeals over the years, Mr Pritchard’s killer has never been caught.
Now, the case will be coming under the scrutiny of internet sleuths as part of a new True Crime Investigators UK podcast.
The force has turned to the unique method following the success of Netflix true crime documentaries such as The Staircase, Amanda Knox, Abducted In Plain Sight and the Disappearance of Madeline McCann.
Presented by retired cops John and Sally Midgley, the episode features an emotional interview with Mr Pritchard’s widow, Hilary, and contributions from senior officers.
The force has released a slick two-minute video trailer as a preview to the podcast, which can be streamed on Spotify, Google and Apple Podcasts.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Tatlow, who is leading on the ongoing investigation, said he hoped the force’s podcast debut would bring fresh lines of inquiry for his team.
He said: “This was a murder that not only shocked the quiet, close-knit community of Kirk Langley but it absolutely devastated Michael Pritchard’s family.
“The ripples of that afternoon back in 1997 are still being felt to this day and, despite 23 years passing, our commitment to finding the people responsible has never faltered.
“When John and Sally contacted us to see if we wanted to take part in their new podcast, we leapt at the chance.
“It’s new ground for us but we know how popular true crime podcasts are and, by taking to streaming for the first time, we’re able to share our appeal to as vast an audience as possible.
“Someone out there knows who killed Michael Pritchard. They may have stayed silent due to fear, or loyalty to friends or acquaintances. But loyalties change. People change.
“And my hope is that someone will listen to the podcast, see how much devastation that incident has caused, and give us the piece of the jigsaw we need to bring some form of closure for Hilary and her family.”
In addition to interviews with Hilary and DCI Tatlow, the new episode features a verbal reconstruction of the incident along with eye-witness accounts.
John and Sally Midgley said they found themselves treading familiar ground by returning to the case.
John, who worked on the initial investigation back in 1997, said: “Despite being retired, I still come back to this case and it’s always at the back of my mind.
“This was an ordinary family going about their daily business and the tragic events of that day in November 1997 changed their lives forever.
“When Sally and I first started listening to true crime podcasts we were aware that podcasts in other countries had made appeals for information from the public with some success.
“When we started to think about releasing a podcast ourselves, the Michael Pritchard case came to the fore and it’s our hope that we can see the same success here, with information coming forward after all these years.”
Detectives at the time were interested in leads in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and Derby and although arrests were made, nobody has ever been convicted of the crime.
The driver was said to have been with two other men, who were in what is believed to be an E-registered Bedford Rascal van.
Mr Pritchard’s van – a white Sherpa 200 with ‘Business Express’ livery – was found abandoned and police believe the driver was collected by the men in the Bedford van.
A reward of up to £10,000 is still available for information leading to a conviction via independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The podcast is available to download from www.truecrimeinvestigators.co.uk as well as all major streaming platforms.