A BUSINESSMAN wanted by police after allegedly stabbing his wife and pouring petrol over his daughter has been found dead.
John Cowley, 63, was believed to have knifed his wife Alison, 50, and sprayed fuel on his teenage daughter at their £500,000 detached home before setting fire to their car.
Police have now confirmed his body was later discovered at a lake Mawdesley, Lancs, close to the family home.
A spokesman said: "A Home Office post mortem examination will now be carried out to try to establish the cause of Mr Cowley's death which is currently being treated as unexplained."
CCTV captured the moment Alison's car went up in flames.
She escaped the burning car, as did her 15-year-old daughter.
CCTV showed Cowley calmly walking round a Morrisons store in Southport, Merseyside hours after the alleged attack.
Robert Newbiggin - once Ricky Hatton’s sparring partner - was returning to his home in the affluent village after picking up his daughter Mercedes, 15, from school.
The 53-year-old, who had a 20-year pro career, described 60 seconds of terror and admitted: “I’m a tough guy but I’ve never been so scared in all my life”.
Mr Newbiggin was driving down single-track Moody Lane when he saw a distressing scene outside Cowley’s house.
He said: “As I was going around the car I saw a girl come out of the house being chased by a man. He just looked like a businessman.
“He was spraying her with something. To me, it looked like they were playing a game. I just presumed it was water.
“The girl was screaming but we were thinking it was screams of laughter. As she came closer, I could smell petrol. I looked at the girl and I could tell something wasn’t right.
“Then I saw the red petrol can in his hand. It was only a matter of time before he pulled a lighter out.
“He looked hellbent.”
As Mr Newbiggin was about to get out of his car to help the girl, the car parked outside the home burst into flames.
He said: “There was an explosion. Petrol had obviously been poured in the car and set alight. The flames were 12ft high - and if we had been any closer we’d probably have been killed on the spot.
“I looked back at the girl and there was a woman behind her. I was shouting at them to run and get in the car and I couldn’t work out why she was moving so slowly.
“Then she crouched down on the driveway, clutching her stomach and I could see blood pouring from her. There was no sign of the man - he’d obviously seen our car and realised the game was up.”
Mr Newbiggin and Mercedes helped the pair into his car and drove them back to his home in Ashtrees to meet paramedics. The air ambulance was also called.
He continued: “The mum was in a really, really bad way.
“She said her name was Alison and that she had been stabbed with a six-inch kitchen knife by her husband.
“She was losing consciousness. The girls in the back were doing the best they could but there was blood everywhere.
“I told her it was just a scratch and we’d have her sorted in no time.
“But I knew it was serious. I was worried the blade had gone straight through her liver.”
The victims were both taken to Aintree hospital, near Liverpool, as a paramedic told Mr Newbiggin he had all but saved two lives.
His blood-soaked car was taken away for forensic tests.
Mr Newbiggin said: “It was like watching a horror film. If he’s capable of pouring petrol on his own daughter then this guy is capable of anything."
Lancashire Police confirmed Alison Cowley suffered multiple stab wounds to her abdomen. She was said to be in a serious but stable condition.