New move to crack unsolved crimes

FRESH impetus is to be given to murders and rapes that have gone unsolved for up to 40 years in an effort by Suffolk police to crack cold cases.

Detectives will put their most high-profile cold cases on to the force’s website next year in the hope that the internet will provide a vital breakthrough in their inquiries.

The Suffolk and Norfolk’s joint Major Investigation Team (MIT) are always at pains to point out these cases are never closed, they are periodically reviewed to see whether advances in scientific technology can help or if there are new lines of enquiry to follow up.

One of the most famous unsolved Suffolk crimes is the Tattingstone suitcase murder, where a young man’s dismembered body was found in a case in 1967.

Despite its notoriety it is doubtful whether it will be among the inquiries featured as in 2004 a Freedom of Information request uncovered previously unseen evidence against the prime suspects.


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It revealed two doctors wanted for other homosexual crimes were suspected of murdering 17-year-old Bernard Oliver. Neither was ever brought to trial.

One, Martin Reddington, who had fled to South Africa and then Australia, died in 1993 aged 63.

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The other, John Byles, committed suicide in 1975, after being arrested and charged for an indecent assault in London.

One case which gained national media exposure, but has remained unsolved for 27 years is the murder of Diane Jones, a doctor’s wife from Coggeshall, Essex. The 35-year-old’s body was found in Brightwell, near Martlesham, in October 1983.

The murders of Dora Pratt, 76, who died as a result of a beating she took at the shop she ran in Bulstrode Street, Ipswich, in January 1982, and Doris Shelley, another pensioner who was killed at her Martlesham home in February 1993, also remain open.

Other high-profile murder investigations include that of Karen Hales, 21, who was killed at her home in Lavenham Road, Ipswich, in November 1993, and 17-year-old Vicky Hall of Trimley St Mary, who was killed in September 1999.

Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry, from the murder team said: “The joint MIT has its own team of police staff who routinely review unsolved major crime from Suffolk and Norfolk, predominantly murders and rapes, in order to identify any new lines of enquiry that can be developed based on advances in forensic science and new information received.

“The crimes stretch back to the 1960s, but could also include ones from within the past few years. Suffolk’s cases will be placed on their new website in the New Year.

“We continue to enlist the help of the public who sometimes hold the information which can unlock these unsolved crimes.

“For each victim, there are family and friends who continue to grieve and who require closure.”

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