Village living in fear after murder

THE SUFFOLK community stunned to its core by the brutal murder of Dawn Walker is living in fear the killer may strike again as the police investigation into the death appears to have faltered.

THE SUFFOLK community stunned to its core by the brutal murder of Dawn Walker is living in fear the killer may strike again as the police investigation into the death appears to have faltered.

Panic was last night rising in the small community of Fornham St Martin, near Bury St Edmunds, as the female population expressed fears for their safety as the murder squad inquiry ended its third day.

Detectives leading the investigation yesterday released no further information relating to the incident, and still have not yet established when or how the unmarried 37-year-old was killed.

But a mobile police station was yesterday set up in nearby Fornham All Saints in an attempt to reassure the public and quell any fears they may have.


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However, women in the area last night said they would not sleep easily until the killer - currently still at large - is arrested.

One 19-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous but works close to the woodland where Miss Walker's charred and semi-naked body was discovered on Friday evening, said the murder had left her anxious and panicked.

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She added: "There is not a lot of light where we park our cars for work, and as soon as I get into my vehicle now I lock the doors, which I did not used to do before this happened.

"Your eyes start to play tricks on you, and you jump when a shadow moves across the car - even if it is only the trees moving.

"I won't relax until someone has been arrested, and fingers crossed this is sooner rather than later."

Another woman, who also did not wish to be named, added: "I would not walk anywhere at the moment, and would feel a lot less safe if I didn't use my car."

Miss Walker, who lived in the village's Oak Close, was last seen by a friend at around 9.30pm Wednesday, February 2, but was not reported missing to police until 11.30am on Friday.

A dog walker discovered her body next to the River Lark in Fornham Park at around 5.10pm that evening.

She had been burned and was left semi-naked. Detectives said her body had been moved, but it is unclear whether this happened before or after she had been set alight.

Det Supt Roy Lambert, who is leading the investigation, has also admitted he has yet to establish how and when she was killed.

Police initially treated the death as "unexplained" until a press conference was called on Monday - when it emerged that foul play was involved.

"It is interesting how it changed quite so rapidly," said David Payne, chairman of Fornham St Martin cum Genevieve Parish Council.

"I would say that people are concerned, obviously that now it appears that foul play is suspected, and they are worried about what could have brought about this tragedy.

"You do not expect this in your backyard, and the fact that nothing seems to be to clear-cut does seem strange. We await developments with interest."

Detectives say they have had around 50 calls offering information since the investigation began, and are still appealing for anyone who saw Miss Walker in the missing hours between Wednesday night and Friday to contact them.

They are also keen to trace anyone who saw the 37-year-old fitness fanatic, who was a regular gym visitor, jogging in the area. On Tuesday, Det Supt Lambert said officers were investigating the possibility she may have been running when she was attacked.

Officers said the mobile police pod, which was placed at the post office in Fornham All Saints yesterday, is open to anyone who wishes to discuss any fears.

It will be manned between 12noon and 2pm, and again between 3.30pm and 7.30pm during the next week, and may be on site longer, depending on the progress of the investigation.

A spokesman for Suffolk police also moved to reassure the public by saying a team of 30 was working on the case, conducting house-to-house inquiries and talking to Miss Walker's friends and family.

And officers still want to hear from anyone who saw Miss Walker before her death. She has been described as 5ft 8ins tall, of slim but athletic build and with auburn coloured, shoulder-length hair.

When she was last seen on Wednesday, she was wearing green cotton walking trousers and a blue zip-up sweatshirt top.

n Anyone with information about the murder, or who saw Miss Walker during the hours before her death, should contact Bury police on 01473 613999 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

The incident room can also be reached by email, at incident.room@suffolk.pnn.police.uk

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