Missing man mystery becomes murder inquiry – £5,000 reward

MISSING MAN Bruce Gapper was last seen 16 years ago in Groves Hall Road, Dewsbury Moor.
MISSING MAN Bruce Gapper was last seen 16 years ago in Groves Hall Road, Dewsbury Moor.
  • March 14: 2.30am - Leaves the Frontier. 11.10am - Speaks to his father on the phone. 1.30pm - Seen by a neighbour outside house. 3.30pm - No answer at home. 11.30pm - Castle Hill Monument area witness later confirms that Bruce’s car (reg. G199AHP), was not parked there at this time
  • March 15: 3.47am - Bruce’s bank card is used at a ATM in Heckmondwike. 6.30am - Another person finds the car with partial internal fire damage parked at the junction of Castle Hill Side and Lumb Lane, Huddersfield. 7am - Bruce fails to turn up for work at Dukes Transport in Huddersfield
  • March 16: 1.18pm - Bruce is reported missing
  • March 17: 2.49am - Further use of card in Scarisbrick
  • March 18: Final use of Bruce’s bank card in the Morley area

The mystery of a man who disappeared 16 years ago is now being treated by police as a murder investigation.

Following a night out in Batley’s Frontier club, Bruce Roger Gapper was last seen unloading shopping outside his Dewsbury Moor home in Groves Hall Road after 1.30pm on Sunday March 14, 1999.

A friend called at his house later that afternoon but there was no answer. When police searched the home a half-eaten sandwich and nearly-full drink were found, suggesting that Bruce, 40, left in a hurry.
He did not turn up for work on Monday morning, the day his red Peugeot 309 was found near the Castle Hill Monument in Huddersfield.

A witness told police the car was not parked there at 11.30pm the night before, so they believe it must have been driven there later.

Bruce’s bank card was used in Heckmondwike, Scarisbrick and Morley – possibly fraudulently – after he was last seen.

Now his family, Crimestoppers and police are issuing a fresh plea for information.

My father doesn’t want to depart this world without knowing what happened to him

Wendy Dixon-Gapper

Bruce’s sister Wendy Dixon-Gapper this week said: “As a family we just want some closure. It is especially upsetting for my father who’s now 90.

“He was 75 at the time when my brother disappeared and he doesn’t want to depart this world without knowing what happened to him.”

Det Chief Insp Mark McManus, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “We understand that Bruce was a creature of habit and that his social life centred on the Frontier nightclub in Batley which he routinely visited every Saturday night, including the weekend he was last seen.

“He was well known among the community who regularly attended the venue and had associates there who lived in the Kirklees and Wakefield areas. We believe it is among this community that answers may be held about what happened to him 16 years ago.

Bruce had been out with friends at Batley's Frontier club on the night before he disappeared.

Bruce had been out with friends at Batley's Frontier club on the night before he disappeared.

“At the heart of this is a family who have spent the last 16 years not knowing what has happened to their son, brother and uncle. I would urge anyone with any information, however small it may seem, to come forward.”

Call 101 with information. Crimestoppers are offering £5,000 for information given by June 5 which leads to an arrest and murder conviction. Contact them on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org