gamesread | Hostage held captive for five years says guards 'murdered his baby'

gamesread | Hostage held captive for five years says guards 'murdered his baby'

Joshua Boyle speaks about his horrific ordeal at Toronto Airport (Picture: AP)

A freed Canadian hostage said his captors killed his baby daughter and raped his wife during the five years his family were held against their will in Afghanistan.

Joshua Boyle told reporters about his horrific ordeal after landing in Canada late on Friday with his wife, Caitlan Coleman, and three young children.

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They were rescued on Wednesday, five years after they had been abducted by the Taliban-linked extremist Haqqani network while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan.

Ms Coleman was pregnant at the time and had four children in captivity.

The birth of the fourth child was not known until the family arrived home.


Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle hold their their children in an undisclosed location (Picture: Getty)

‘The stupidity and evil of the Haqqani network’s kidnapping of a pilgrim and his heavily pregnant wife engaged in helping ordinary villagers in Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan was eclipsed only by the stupidity and evil of authorising the murder of my infant daughter,’ Mr Boyle said.

Mr Boyle said his wife was raped by a guard who was assisted by his superiors. He then asked for the Afghan government to bring them to justice.

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‘God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network,’ he said.

He said he was helping villagers living deep inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan where no aid worker or government official has managed to penetrate.

On the plane from London, Mr Boyle provided a written statement to The Associated Press saying his family has ‘unparalleled resilience and determination’.

Joshua Boyle speaks to the media (Picture: AP)
He says his family were held captive for five years (Picture: AP)

Ms Coleman, who is from Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, sat in the aisle of the business-class cabin wearing a tan-coloured headscarf.

She nodded wordlessly when she confirmed her identity to a reporter on board the flight. In the two seats next to her were her two elder children.

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In the seat beyond that was Mr Boyle, with their youngest child in his lap. US State Department officials were on the plane with them.

The handwritten statement that Mr Boyle gave the AP expressed disagreement with US foreign policy.

‘God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination, and to allow that to stagnate, to pursue personal pleasure or comfort while there is still deliberate and organised injustice in the world would be a betrayal of all I believe, and tantamount to sacrilege,’ he wrote.

Caitlan Coleman, 31, and Joshua Boyle, 34, were freed from Taliban captivity (Picture: AP)

 

Joshua Boyle stands next to his father Patrick Boyle at Toronto Airport (Picture: Reuters)

He nodded to one of the State Department officials and said: ‘Their interests are not my interests.’

He added that one of his children is in poor health and had to be force-fed by their Pakistani rescuers.

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‘It will be of incredible importance to my family that we are able to build a secure sanctuary for our three surviving children to call a home,’ he said in his later statement at the airport.

‘To try to regain some portion of the childhood that they have lost.’

The Canadian government said in a statement that they will continue to support him and his family.

‘Today, we join the Boyle family in rejoicing over the long-awaited return to Canada of their loved ones,’ the Canadian government said.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said the Pakistani raid that led to the family’s rescue was based on a tip from US intelligence and shows that Pakistan will act against a ‘common enemy’ when Washington shares information.

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gamesread – Dauntless Beginner Guide: A Pointy, Long and Sharp Thing. Do I Stick it?

gamesread - Dauntless Beginner Guide: A Pointy, Long and Sharp Thing. Do I Stick it?
Hey guys! Part 3 already! Who would have thought?

Anyway, let's position ourselves: We have arrived at Ramsgate, and they have explained to us where to craft. Then we went hunting and we learned how and what to gather.

But we still haven't learned something really basic. How to handle a sword?

The sword is actually the easiest weapon to master. It has good mobility but overall is way less punishable than the Gunhammer or the Axe. Even the Chainblades which have better mobility have a dodge with a delayed I-frame that makes them hard to learn sometimes.

But not the sword. With it most combos can be interrupted right after a hit, which turns it into the best weapon to learn the patterns of a new Behemoth. Personally, I prefer the keyboard and mouse to play, so I'll use them as a reference to explain the distinct combos and advance techniques the sword offers:

gamesread - Dauntless Beginner Guide: A Pointy, Long and Sharp Thing. Do I Stick it?

These are the basic movements, I also included the general movements and actions down here:
gamesread - Dauntless Beginner Guide: A Pointy, Long and Sharp Thing. Do I Stick it?
Now, you may think "You just posted the entire moveset, why bother working right?" You are wrong my friend: being knowledgeable doesn't mean you are wise.

(I'll also add a gif for each movement as soon as I'm able.) 

That's why I'd like to point out when and why you would use them:

Quad Cross. Your main safe damage. Is fast and easy to interrupt with a dodge after every combo step. It also replenishes your special bar, which is something I'll explain later.

Triple Elements. A nice combo which combines the first three hits of the previous one with two elemental attacks. Everytime you start a Quad Cross you'll be able to choose this one if the opening presents itself.

Repeating Elements. Two elemental hits plus an infinite amount of physical ones only limited by your stamina. They do not deal much damage, yet they do replenish your special meter real fast. Use with caution though, as you may not have any stamina left and be punished for it.

Rising Elements. Pure elemental three hit combo attack. Your highest damage combo yet not as safe as Quad Cross, since after every hit there is a little delay before you are able to roll away. Use with caution.
Special Meter. Five blocks of energy fill as you hit a Behemoth with a physical attack. Hence why Repeating Elements is so good to do so. Any block not completely filled will decay if not actively engaging combat.

Elemental Blast/Overdrive. Your special movement. Really good to flinch if a Behemoth's body part is about to break. Moreover, it has a trick: If you use it with one block only, it will release an elemental blast (which differs depending on the Behemoth hunted to create the weapon), however if you do so with five blocks, you'll also receive an attack speed bonus plus elemental damage on every hit. I should mention this movement can be used at the end of a combo in order to maximize damage, effectively erasing any delay between them.

Now, I did mention something about advance techniques right? with that I meant some movements not present in the image.Nor in any tutorial I've seen.

Unsheathe attack (Right click). It adds an extra hit to Quad Cross and Triple Elements. Great when having to pull out of the danger zone then going back. This way you don't spend any extra stamina running either.
 
Rolling attack (Right or left click). After any dodge, you can start any of the combos above with a common overhead descending vertical slash. Great to close gaps and not lose momentum.

Persisting Overdrive. This one is tricky and sometimes not easy to pull off, as the most efficient way to use does not always present itself. For starters, I don't know if its intended… but when in overdrive state, as your final block starts depleting, you can start any combo and conserve the attack speed bonus even when the bar is empty (Elemental attack visuals also persist, yet I don't know if the damage does too). Its especially useful with Repeating Elements, as if the right conditions are met, you could go back to three/four bars in one swoop.

And that's it for today's guide! I hope you found it useful!

Finally, If you enjoyed the read and would like to know more about my work please don't hesitate in following my twitter: @DezartVanheart.

PEACE. 

gamesread - Dauntless Beginner Guide: A Pointy, Long and Sharp Thing. Do I Stick it?

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review – gamesread.com

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

The Ship of Heroes team has delivered yet another milestone, and yours truly had the chance to be right in the middle of it. Their first round of the alpha testing of the Ship of Heroes Character Creation Tool has completed, and screenshots of actual player created characters have been revealed. Including some of one of my own! 
 

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

“We opened up the CCT to a diverse group of supporters, and let them create original characters, using the three finished character models that we have in the game,” said Casey McGeever, CEO of Heroic Games.  “We’ve received over three hundred distinct suggestions, bug reports, and insights from this Alpha test – feedback we are happy to fold into our development schedule as we continue to push forward the efficient development of an outstanding, fun to play game.”

They released a preliminary beta testing report earlier today, and by all accounts, the testing went well. There were no reported technical issues, and I can personally confirm that I had no troubles with the creator at all. I was able to download, install and jump into it to start my first character within 10-15 minutes of receiving the link. It was tested on a wide array of devices and computer buillds, and across several different operating systems – all without a hitch. Which means, can I have a drum roll here, the devs are confident that they are on track for the scheduled beta launch at the end of 2018.
 

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

So how was it?

I was initially blown away when I opened it up and took a look at all the facial sliders. It has sliders for just about everything on the face, even things as interesting as setting the overall basic facial shapes like how heart-shaped, square or round the placement of the features. You can control the curve of the lips, the shape of the folds around the eyes, and fine tune multiple different areas of the nose. You add in a squint, a slanted smile, bulbous noses and ears, protuding brows or create a more elegant classic look. There are over 300 morphs that can be applied to each character, which allows for some impressive variation. I happily spent several hours just playing around with all of them, and of course, seeing a bunch of the powers that I'd never seen before didn't hurt either! My beloved Darkness!!
 

Ship of Heroes: Hands on Character Creation Alpha Review - gamesread.com

So let's crack open the hood and look inside. The first screen that pops up is the character archetype screen, followed by powers. I didn't expect to see a selection of powers! But the selection was really interesting, and of course, a large segment of time was taken up as I read through every powerset. 

Then you move into making the actual character's appearance. The face customization blew me away. I have seen a lot of comments about how the actual body needs more sliders, but aside from wanting to boost up my boob size, I was happy with what was there. Where I felt the creator is lacking are in the artistic additions. It is definitely shy on hairstyles and colors, eye colors, skin shades, and costume pieces. But at the same time, at this stage in the game's development, that's really to be expected. A rock solid foundation is what's needed at this point, the extra visuals can be added later – and the devs have already communicated their awareness of this and intention to add in more.

And to prove it, I will present some more shots of the first character I created.
 

N64-y platformer throwback A Hat In Time is now out on gamesread

N64-y platformer throwback A Hat In Time is now out on gamesread

Hats are brilliant. I primarily use them to disguise my massive fivehead, for instance, but hats can also bless their wearers with amazing powers. At least they can in A Hat in Time [official site], Gears for Breakfast’s crowdfunded N64-style collectathon platformer. Hats that blow stuff up, hats that let you gaze into other dimensions — is there anything they can’t do? A Hat in Time is out now.

In A Hat in Time, you’ll control Hat Kid, a wee spacefaring girl whose journey comes to an unplanned stop when her fuel gets scattered across a planet. Gathering up all of that fuel again will require some hat magic, of course, as well as a liberal dose of climbing, clambering and jumping around.

The quest for fuel will send Hat Kid through seven areas, each with their own neat hooks. On the Owl Express, for example, Hat Kid will need to interrogate her fellow passengers to solve a murder, much like a tiny Poirot in a top hat. In another area, she becomes a band marshall. And in another, she’ll need to sneak through a studio run by birds.

During the Kickstarter, Gear for Breakfast added a co-op stretch goal, which was surpassed, and in June last year announced that the game would launch with co-op. Unfortunately, it hasn’t. According to the developer, it will be added in a post-release update. It has launched with full modding support, however, which is a nice surprise.

Here’s what you’ll be able to mod:

-Full level editor
-Full script access
-Full Steam Workshop support
-Add a hat
-Add two hats
-Add a lot of hats
-Add new chapters
-Add new enemies
-Make a game inside a game
-Make a game inside a game, that is inside a game

So pretty much everything.

A Hat in Time was one of the first seven games in Humble’s publishing portfolio in February as it launched its plan to be more than just a shop. It’s available now from GOG, the Humble Store, and Steam for £22.99/€27.99/$29.99.

Fortnite Battle Royale sparks Unreal Engine improvements, starts banning cheaters on gamesread

Fortnite Battle Royale sparks Unreal Engine improvements, starts banning cheaters on gamesread

Epic have been busy this week with Fortnite [official site] in both its PvE and Battle Royale forms. Over in Battle Royale (which is free), Epic have added a duo mode and started banning cheaters in their thousands. Epic have also been working on technical improvements to Unreal Engine itself that should benefit any game throwing 100 players into a big world to fight. Pointing this out seems a bit of a passive-aggressive wink to how the makers of Playerunknown’s Battleground have grumbled about the possibility of Epic keep any such improvements to themselves. Cheeky! And for Fortnite PvE (which will be F2P but isn’t yet), the new Horde Bash mode has launched.

Fortnite Battle Royale cheats

First, cheats and the cheaty cheaters who cheat with them. Epic say that “addressing cheaters in Fortnite is the highest priority across Epic Games” and that they “are constantly working against both the cheaters themselves and the cheat providers.”

They’ve already banned thousands of players and, while playing cagey so as to not clue naughties into how their cheat-detection and banmachine works, say “we are rolling out tools and will continue to do so.” Making bans stick is difficult in free-to-play games, as banned players can simply use a new e-mail address to register a new account, so hopefully Epic have something good up their technosleeves.

A player progression will arrive in Fortnite Battle Royale system in “the next several weeks”, and Epic hope that people will feel less inclined to cheat when they risk losing their progression to a ban.

Earlier this week, Epic also launched a Battle Royale update adding duos and bringing back supply drops. They also gabbed about their plans to rebalance weapon accuracy.

Unreal Engine improvements

Onto Unreal Engine! This week, Epic detailed the many “performance, memory, and workflow optimizations” they have made to Unreal Engine 4 while making Fortnite Battle Royale. These changes aren’t directly visible to players — for example, “Switched property type comparisons from strings to FNames for speed during replication” — but improve the engine’s technoguts, largely enabling better dedicated server performance and easier collaboration for artists.

These changes will roll out across the next two releases of Unreal Engine 4, and Epic say they’ve got more Battle Royale-y improvements in the works too.

Epic stress that all these improvements can “not only benefit Fortnite: Battle Royale but every developer using Unreal Engine 4, especially those building games with similar requirements.” You know, like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.

Fortnite Battle Royale sparks Unreal Engine improvements, starts banning cheaters on gamesread

The makers of Plunkbat have expressed discontent with Fortnite Battle Royale in strange and rambling ways. Following a baffling statement in which they said they “are concerned that Fortnite may be replicating the experience for which PUBG is known,” Bluehole Studio elaborated with further vague concerns in an interview with cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer.

“We could be afraid when we make new features in the engine by modifying it internally, that is not already available and public, that feature could be leaked, or other things could happen,” producer Changhan Kim told PCG. Plunkbat is also built upon Unreal Engine, see, so Bluehole didn’t seem best pleased about the prospect of Epic getting an ‘unfair’ advantage from that. The games are genre rivals, after all, even if the two are quite different in many crucial ways.

Young Matthew Cox will tell you that Fortnite Battle Royale simply isn’t as fun or as interesting as Plunkbat. However it has beaten Plunkbat to console, and Bluehole are likely concerned about it getting a strong footing before they arrive. Their other concerns are still weird, mind, acting put out that Epic have ventured into a genre that predates both their games. Even the chap who arguably created the modern blueprint for Battle Royale modes with his Arma mod, Brendan Greene (the eponymous Playerunknown, currently making Plunkbat with Bluehole) told us earlier this year that he didn’t claim ownership over the genre.

Anyway! The point is, technobits go zoomier? All those changes won’t automatically benefit Plunkbat and perhaps won’t even apply to how Bluehole use Unreal, but they will be in Unreal Engine for all.

Horde Bash

And on Thursday, the PvE side of Fortnite received an update adding Horde Bash mode. This has players build a base together before the round starts, then pits them against waves of nasties. Waves get more difficult over time, obvs, and completing waves gives resources to craft weapons and tend to your base.

Big number

On Wednesday, Epic announced that Fortnite – both its PvE and Battle Royale sides combined – had passed 7 million players. Presumably the vast majority are Battle Royalers having a crack for free but hey, that is a big number.

Busy week.

The Fortnite client is free to download through Epic’s own client. That’ll get to into Fortnite Battle Royale for free but the PvE aspect will cost money until it leaves early access. Brendan will tell you that the PvE mode “is one of the most obnoxiously loud and over-designed games I’ve played in a long while,” which isn’t a glowing recommendation.

gamesread – Unknown Pleasures: our favourite new Steam releases

gamesread - Unknown Pleasures: our favourite new Steam releases

Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures, our weekly round-up of the most excellent hidden gems we dug up from the past week of new releases on Steam.

This week: botany simulation, electro-tanks, skeletal Wolverine and automatic Starship Troopers.

The Red Front

($5.99/£4.79)

File under ‘games I feel kinda guilty about including here’ because, y’know, it’s about as smart as a Twitter execs’ boardmeeting. I can’t help but like The Red Front nonetheless. It’s a twin stick shooter of sorts, in which you play as a Russian tank, trying to survive against waves of Axis soldiers, armoured cars, tanks and what not. Some of ’em will drop weapon upgrades, and before long you have yourself a tank firing deathclouds and electric rays and all sorts. That’s it: that’s literally it. But it involves unblinking top-down carnage, has pleasantly ponderous tank movement, you can get stuck in trees and it finds a fairly sweet spot between raining hell and having to constantly manoeuvre your way out of trouble.

Very, very stupid, but the Russian marching band music helps a lot.

The Botanist

($6.99/£4.99)

A lovely concept (one we posted about back in its Greenlight days) that’s both a very pleasant timesink and a slightly missed opportunity. You, in your apartment, don the mantle of a botanist – growing and cataloguing an effectively infinite array of new plants, procedurally-generated when you type in a name of your choice – ‘New Coke’, ‘Dale Cooper’, ‘Megatron’ or whatever. You can obtain upgrades – fancier pots and more space and the like – by meeting plant enthusiasts’ requests, e.g. by growing a purple flower or an orange grass – and these low-pressure, chummy challenges create a suitably gentle sense of compulsion. The highlight is always finding out what kind of plant you’re going to get from a new seed, although I think The Botanist’s biggest mistake is to have seeds grow instantly into full-size flora. Even having to wait just one in-game day would create a stronger sense of anticipation.

The weird interface, all from a first person perspective but with you fixed in place throughout, is a bit of a shame too – how much nicer it would be to physically wander over to a plant to gaze at it, rather than simply click on it and have it magically teleported across the room to you. Still, tranquil, pleasant and filled with tiny moments of joy.

Alien Hallway 2

($9.99/£6.99)

It’s bit of a week for stupid, and ain’t nothing wrong with that. This is the sequel to a very stupid top-down shooter-cum-inverse tower defence jobbie from seven years ago (I am so old), which is essentially Starship Troopers – i.e. a few good men and women versus squillions and squillions of insectoid aliens. Your dudes auto-fire in the main, but you can direct them to focus on specific targets, such as gigantic bosses or exploding cannisters full of resources off to the side of the screen.

The key ‘strategy’ if you can call it that, is spending said resources on reinforcements, which is where the inverse tower defence element comes in – hoping your lads survive long enough for you to afford new chums for them to fight with. Yeah, it’s a hamster wheel of unlocks and loot-gathering, but the scale of the enemy swarms it chucks you is a bit of a treat, and it’s very, very difficult to stop watching ’em pop.

After Death

($13.99/£10.59)

Pretty solid-seeming Metroidvania, with some lovely gothic 2D art and a particularly agreeable Vangelis-y soundtrack. As is always the case with an Unknown Pleasure, I’ve only played a bit of it so can’t attest for how well it holds together as levels sprawl further, powers grow and bosses get all bossy, but certainly it feels like one I’d like to stick with. The audio-visual aesthetic’s great, and it’s dark’n’demony without getting all Deviant Art about it.

Also, you basically play as Skeletal Wolverine.

Twickles


($6.99/£4.99)

This week, our weekly Minimalist Puzzle Game Of The Week in this, the week of October 6, 40th week of the 52 weeks of the year, is… well, it fits the mould with worrying precision. Skeletal piano soundtrack, monochrome art, and interactions that don’t go beyond rotating things. But it’s tranquil and pretty and has its own take on a broadly familiar theme, which is Pipemania-style parts-rotation to get a ball from one end to another. The twist here is that, as well as the pipe-pieces themselves, you can also rotate the whole construction at once, in order to make gravity do its thing and usher your ball to the exit. So it’s all about figuring out twin combinations – starts easy, grows more challenging, but pretty much stays relaxing. Most pleasant.

Pick of the week iiiiiiiissssss: well, with the very strong proviso that I’ve only seen a bit of it, I’m going to go for After Death. I just really dig its vibe, man.

Quake Champions buffs (almost) everyone except Sorlag on gamesread

Quake Champions buffs (almost) everyone except Sorlag on gamesread

Thursday was patch-day for early access arena shooter Quake Champions [official site]. Tons of changes in this update, but there’s something for everyone as it’s raining buffs: BJ Blazkowicz gets a buff! Clutch gets a buff! Doom Guy gets a buff! And everyone’s favourite scary alien lizard-lady Sorlag gets… a nerf. Two, in fact.

Poor Sorlag. At least there’s a Double XP event running this weekend. That’s something, right?

Not only does Sorlag’s acid spit ability now do 30% less damage, but she has to wait a little longer before she can resume shooting after spitting. But it seems that the big lizzie is the only one to roll snake-eyes and get down-scaled, so no more crocodile tears. Here’s some of the notable tweaks this version:

While not technically everyone, a lot of characters have seen upgrades. Big angry robot Clutch is now 25hp beefier, and no longer suffers a penalty to his movement speed while using his Mining Drill power. Slash can now do her dashy Plasma Trail move in any direction, and BJ Blazkowicz has been working out in preparation for his new game, and can use his dual-wield power a little more often and fire shotguns, rockets, tri-bolts and railguns faster while doubling up.

On a universal note, the starting Nailgun, the Super Shotgun and the Tri-Bolt have all been buffed. The latter in particular seems far deadlier now, with direct hits now dealing both impact and immediate explosive damage. While not a balance tweak, rockets are now governed by better, fully deterministic netcode, so they should behave a little more predictably.

They’ve also client-sided a lot of audio effects, meaning that nobody else will hear that you’ve just picked up a lore scroll (which are now only awarded after match completion, to reduce farming), or be able to overhear the background hum of your fancy alternate weapon skin.

On the technical side, it’s the usual slew of small bugs squashed. The devs also reckon that they’ve got a few memory and netcode-related gremlins locked down now, which should help reduce the game’s footprint on both hardware and upstream bandwidth. Jump pads now also make a noise when you actually jump on them (fancy that), and the end of match podium screen has victory/defeat music, as appropriate.

It’s a big update and with a lot of interesting and positive changes, so long as you don’t main Sorlag. This update is topped off with a double XP weekend and a price drop on vanity items. The game is also cycling out a variety of cosmetic bundle packs from the store and replacing them with a few new ones.

Quake Champions is free-to-play direct from Bethesda or is available on Steam only as a £20/$30 ‘Get all characters unlocked for the lifetime of the game’ bundle.

gamesread – Pictured: Policewoman found 'murdered' in beauty spot lake

Ms McKie leaves behind three young children; two little girls and a boy (Picture: Facebook)

A policewoman who was found ‘murdered’ in the early hours of the morning has been pictured for the first time.

The body of Leanne McKie, 39, a serving officer with Greater Manchester Police, was found at Poynton Lake at around 3.45am this morning.

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Cheshire Police were called to the beauty spot in Cheshire following reports that a body had been found.

A 43-year-old man from Wilmslow has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is being held in police custody.

Ms McKie leaves behind three young children; two little girls and a boy.

The body of Leanne McKie, 39, a serving officer with Greater Manchester Police, was found at Poynton Lake at around 3.45am this morning. (Picture: MEN)
She was found at Poynton Lake at around 3.45am this morning (Picture: MEN)
Cheshire Police were called to the beauty spot in Cheshire following reports that a body had been found. (Picture: MEN)

Detective Inspector Adam Waller said: ‘Investigations into her death are currently ongoing and we are working hard to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

‘We are aware of a number of rumours circulating in relation to the identity of the victim and, whilst formal identification has not year taken place, we do believe that the victim is 39-year-old Leanne McKie, from Wilmslow.

John Lewis has started Christmas…in September

‘Leanne was a mother of three young children and a serving police officer in Greater Manchester Police.

‘Our thoughts at this difficult time are with Leanne’s family, friends and colleagues.

‘I would like to reassure local residents that at this stage this appears to be an isolated incident and we are not looking for anyone else in relation to her death.’

Anyone with information is asked to call Cheshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 93 of September 29, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.