Polstead: Murder of abducted Linda Smith left devastating impact on family, says nephew

Det Chief Inspector Andy Smith

Det Chief Inspector Andy Smith - Credit: Andy Abbott

The nephew of a man who discovered the body of a 12-year-old murder victim nearly 53 years ago has told of the impact it had on his uncle.

12 year old Linda Smith was found murdered in a field at Polstead over 52 years ago

12 year old Linda Smith was found murdered in a field at Polstead over 52 years ago - Credit: Andy Abbott

Dr John Gorrod’s recollections came after detectives involved in Suffolk’s oldest cold case homicide inquiry said they had not given up hope of finding Linda Smith’s murderer.

Harold Richardson discovered Linda’s body in a field next to Stackwood Road, Polstead, near Hadleigh, on January 20, 1961.

Linda had been abducted four days earlier from her home village of Earls Colne, near Colchester.

She was strangled with her own scarf and found fully clothed, with the exception of her right, size one, black lace-up shoe, which was missing.


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Dr Gorrod, 81, of Polstead Heath, said although it would be too dramatic to say his uncle was haunted by the discovery of Linda, it did stay with him until his death in 1976 aged 88.

Dr Gorrod also said Linda’s murder had a big impact on others in the area, especially as her killer was never caught.

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He said: “It did have an effect on my uncle and other people who were in Polstead because they may or may not have felt they were under suspicion.

“You have to remember you are dealing with a countryman - a countryman who had been through the wars. He survived as a soldier in the Great War.

“He must have seen enough death to last him a lifetime. Nevertheless he was definitely upset about finding Linda.

“I’m pretty certain it did live with him for the rest of his life.

“I know from what I have gathered that it had a lasting impact on other people, particularly other men in the village.

“My hope would be the police can bring this case to a satisfactory conclusion.”

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Smith, pictured, of Suffolk’s major investigation team, said: “There’s every reason to believe Linda’s killer is still alive and we would appeal to that person, or those persons, to examine their consciences.

“Time is running out for them to do the right thing.

“I would appeal to witnesses, particularly those with allegiances which may have changed over the years, to also examine their consciences.”

Anyone with information is urged to call Suffolk police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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