Karen Hales’ murder: Detectives renew appeal on 20th anniversary of Ipswich mum’s unsolved murder

Karen Hales with her daughter Emily

Karen Hales with her daughter Emily - Credit: Archant

Detectives have renewed their appeal for information in a bid to catch the killer of a young Ipswich mother who was murdered 20 years ago today.

Karen Hales’ body was found at her Lavenham Road home by her father Graham.

The 21-year-old had been stabbed to death. Her killer had tried to set her body and her home alight with her 18-month-old daughter Emily in it.

Despite a long-standing police investigation her killer has never been caught, although police have vowed never to give up the hunt.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Smith, of Suffolk’s major investigation team, said: “It saddens me that despite the best efforts of the original inquiry team and repeated reviews, we have never been able to bring to justice the person responsible for murdering Karen.

“This was an absolutely horrendous crime, not least because Karen was callously killed in the presence of her 18 month old daughter and because her parents were left to discover her body in truly horrific circumstances

“Somebody somewhere has information which could help us find Karen’s killer, and 20 years on we are urging that person to come forward.

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“The impact this has had on Karen’s family is unimaginable. It is clear that not a day goes by when they do not think of Karen or indeed what happened to her.

“Despite the fact that 20 years have gone by, we will never give up in our efforts to find Karen’s killer.

“I believe that there is a very real likelihood that Karen knew the person responsible. There was no sign of forced entry to the house, there was heavy snow on the ground but there were no footprints leaving the rear of the property.

“Two kitchen knives were found to be missing from the house, these could well have been used to kill Karen, but they have never been found. Also Karen’s purse containing a small amount of money was missing.

“The motive for Karen’s murder is unclear but it is likely that someone close to the killer, a friend or relative may have noticed unusual behaviour after the event.

“We are urging people to come forward with information. For whatever reason you may not have felt you could come forward at the time, for the sake of Karen’s family we would ask you to please come forward now”.

Anyone with information which could help the inquiry should telephone Suffolk Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555111.