He managed to escape. But the death of Brian Laundrie “is not just a headline story about a dad who hung himself”, says the 24-year-old’s brother-in-law Bill Woods, who also manages the Salford business Brian did with his brother Jason.
It “is also a tragedy about a family that has been destroyed”, he adds. In the aftermath of his suicide on 27 April, the family was aware that Jennifer Finnegan (fiancee of the 52-year-old former tanker driver) and her 13-year-old daughter Stephanie had fled from a flat in Bolton, Lancashire, and were now on the run. “We were aware of a warrant for Jennifer’s arrest in relation to non-payment of a dog tax bill – but we weren’t aware of why.”
There has been no official explanation from the family for Brian’s death, a line that leaves relatives “in bits”.
The Finnegans have, according to the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Telegraph, apparently hired a private detective to hunt for Brian’s body, but Brian’s family are now insistent that Jennifer is hiding “a large part of their criminal background” from police.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Brian’s brother-in-law Roberta Accused admitted that the Finnegans had been arrested in connection with an “elaborate fraud” involving a VAT scheme in Wales.
But since Brian’s body was found, Roberta said “there is no evidence of theft or fraud” by her family.
Roberta (pictured, with her daughter Stephanie and daughter Jennifer Finnegan) has been arrested on a warrant and will go before Manchester magistrates on 1 July.