Karen Hales’ murder: Parents say ‘Karen’s killer tried to murder our granddaughter too’

Graham and Geraldine Hales

Graham and Geraldine Hales

On a snow-encrusted Sunday 20 years ago today Karen Hales was murdered at her home in Lavenham Road, Ipswich.

After stabbing the young mother to death her killer tried to set her and her home alight, ignoring the fact that Karen’s 18-month-old daughter Emily was in the house.

Karen’s murderer has never been caught.

Since then the 21-year-old’s family have lived in a state of perpetual torment, hoping that someone will provide the breakthrough to bring her killer to justice.

Two decades later they remain repulsed by her murder and the fact that the person respnsible was prepared to kill a child in a bid to cover their tracks.

Emily’s life was saved when Karen’s parents went round to her home, leading to her father Graham finding his daughter’s body and rescuing their grandchild.

Geraldine, Karen’s mother, who lives in Barham near Claydon, said: “I can never come to terms with the fact that whoever did this set fire to Karen knowing full well an 18-month-old baby was there, and clearly wanted her dead as well.

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“Karen’s life was taken, but whoever it was wanted to take Emily’s as well. If we hadn’t gone round there she would not be here today.

“We have to live with that torment all the time.”

Karen’s eldest sister, Angela, added: “He (her killer) didn’t even care if Emily lived or died.”

Police remain adamant the case is still open, but it can be hard for Karen’s loved ones to hang on to the sliver of hope that justice will one day prevail.

Mr Hales, 68, said: “I think of Karen more on the anniversary.

“I would like the person to be caught, but I have given up hope in my lifetime.

“It is really hard knowing that the person has got away with it. You live with it every day.”

Mrs Hales, 69, added: “That’s the most traumatic thing for all of us

“We always take flowers up to Karen’s grave. We do it every day of the week.

“Karen is always in our minds. The anniversary will be no different and we won’t do anything differently.

“You think of what happened on that day all the time.

“I find myself watching the clock, thinking ‘this was the time we went round found Karen and rescued Emily’.