He had just hours before been disposing of his friend’s body parts in bins in a horrific attempt to evade justice. But after William Wilkinson had been interviewed following his arrest for murdering his neighbour – during which he had replied ‘no comment’ – the 65-year-old turned to the officers, smiled and told them ‘good luck’.
Despite his nonchalant quip and silence during his first interview, Wilkinson later admitted he was responsible for the gratuitous killing and dismemberment of kindhearted Eddie Forrester.
Wilkinson and his neighbour lived in separate flats in a building on Seaforth Road, Blackpool. The pair argued about bird feeding, with Eddie complaining the food Wilkinson was leaving out attracted vermin, LancsLive reports.. In August 2023, Eddie wrote to Blackpool council to complain and a letter was sent to his downstairs neighbour about the issue.
Wilkinson had no previous convictions, but had told neighbours he had previously given Eddie a black eye and could ‘have him’ in a fight. Eddie, 55, was described as ‘somewhat vulnerable’ due to mild learning disabilities after suffering a brain injury in the late 1990s.
He also struggled with mobility issues and walked with a stick when he took his beloved dog Cassie for her twice daily walks. His family described him as “a quiet and harmless individual who wouldn’t hurt a soul.”
But on September 1, 2023, Wilkinson bludgeoned him to death with a wooden stick, which had a metal bung on the end and a nail sticking out. He then used a mechanical saw to chop up Eddie’s body before disposing of the body parts at various locations in the north west.
Preston Crown Court heard how Eddie had moved to Blackpool from his home in Glasgow decades ago. He soon struck up a friendship with Trevor Lake and the pair became ‘like family.’ Trevor helped Eddie to fill out forms and every other day they ate together, with Eddie providing the food and Trevor cooking a meal for them.
On September 1, Eddie confirmed he would be going for tea with Trevor the next day, but when he didn’t turn up, Trevor was worried. He went to the flat and found Cassie, alone and distressed, but there was no sign of his pal. He knocked on and spoke to Wilkinson, who claimed he had not seen his neighbour either.
However this was the first in a string of lies Wilkinson told in a bid to cover his tracks. Shortly after Trevor’s visit, Wilkinson went to Lytham St Annes in his converted Peugeot Boxer van and stayed the night, planning his next move.
In the days that followed he took smaller body parts to public bins around Blackpool, wrapped in carrier bags, and dumped them. He then set off up the M6 to the Lake District, where he dumped Eddie’s head in a quarry off the M6 and left his arms and legs near Windermere. Finally, he buried two suitcases, containing Eddie’s dismembered torso, in woodland near Staveley, Kendal, before heading to the Kirkstone Inn and parking up.
Meanwhile, back in Blackpool, Trevor was worried about his friend and reported him missing. The police visited the flats and found blood on the doorframe of the ground floor property – and no sign of the occupant, Wilkinson. Realising Eddie had come to harm, they launched a murder investigation, with the 65-year-old their prime suspect.
When officers entered Wilkinson’s flat, they noticed a strong smell of cleaning products and fresh paint, from a newly painted skirting board. They found spatters of blood in the kitchen, walls, carpet and communal hallway, and water pooled on the kitchen floor. They also found the murder weapon, the broken wooden stick, in a carrier bag.
Officers arrested Wilkinson in the car park of the Kirkstone Inn in Windermere on September 5. He had visited a barbers to have his hair cut, coloured and recycled, and his beard shaved off, in an attempt to change his appearance and avoid arrest. When he was taken into questioning, he gave no comment to all the questions put to him, making his arrogant remark as he was taken back to his cell.
CCTV and ANPR investigations pieced together Wilkinson’s movements in the days following the murder. Searches in Lancashire and Cumbria located a number of body parts, but many have never been found.
Among them, Eddie’s heart, which was deliberately and gratuitously removed from his ribcage, has never been recovered.
On learning Eddie had been murdered, his family thought it must have been a one-off incident, such as a punch. When they learned the horrors of the way he was treated after his death, they said they were sickened and suffered nightmares.
Clinging to the hope the missing body parts would be found, they delayed the funeral until December 18, when it was concluded they would never be found. They said: “Edward wasn’t argumentative. He may stand up for himself but he would walk away from trouble. We replay what happened in our heads, and how he had been taken from his friends and family. We couldn’t eat or focus on anything knowing he had been murdered and butchered.
“We fight to stop thinking about the horrific nature of how Edward was taken from us and don’t want to lose self control. It is hard to believe what that monster did to him. It is like something you see on the TV when you watch crime dramas.
“You watch those from the comfort of your home and never think it could be you who suffers that incredible act of evil. Nothing will bring our Edward back. We will never fully and process what happened to him.
“We take solace in the fact he was happy in Blackpool. He was loved and had friends and his dog Cassie. When his routine was broken he was reported and this gives us comfort.”
His lifelong friend Trevor said: “I have known Ed for 22 years. I met him not long after he moved to Blackpool. We hit it off straight away and had a connection. Ed would visit most days. We had a routine and I’d speak to him every day and see him every other day. We supported each other. We were each other’s family and my emotional support.
“Ed had a rescue dog called Cassie who he loved. He wouldn’t go anywhere without her. I now look after Cassie and she gives me comfort. She is my world and my rock. If it wasn’t for her I’d be in a darker place but I keep it together for Cassie.
“Because of our routine I immediately knew something was wrong. I went round and saw Cassie alone and distressed. I knew something was wrong.
“I question my own actions and question whether there was something I could have done to stop it. My mind constantly thinks about what happened to Ed and why, but I can’t take hearing about it
“Ed wasn’t just my friend, he was my family. He has taken away the chance to make new memories. They say time heals but I don’t think I’ll ever get over this. Ed was a kind man to his friends and family, and to his animals. My life will never be the same again.”
Sentencing Wilkinson to life, with a minimum tern of 19 years and three months, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham said: “Let me say something about Mr Forrester. He was 55 when he was murdered and it is clear he was a somewhat vulnerable man who had suffered an injury and had difficulty reading and writing and needed assistance.
“He had a speech impediment and walked with a stick, and took medication for other conditions. He was clearly a kind and likeable man, much loved and valued by those who knew him.
“His family and friend speak of the traumatic effects of learning what happened to Mr Forrester as well as the devastation at the loss they have suffered. They also speak movingly about the traumatic effects of learning how he died and what was done with his body after he had died.
“They have all sat with perfect dignity in court today. The precise reason for this murder may never be known to anyone but the defendant.”
Ordering Wilkinson to stand to be sentenced, the judge told him: “”You undertook a cruel, callous and systematic dismemberment of his body and distribution over a significant geographical area. What you did was more serious than concealing his body and delaying his funeral. It involved a dispersal which led to the irretrievable loss of parts of Mr Forrester.”
Throughout the sentence hearing, Wilkinson sat emotionless in the dock. As he was led to the cells to begin the sentence of life imprisonment, Eddie’s friends shouted “animal” and “monster” from the public gallery.