24 Unsolved Bristol Murders
Police determined to crack 24 unsolved Bristol murders
While the discovery of Melanie Hall's body has kick-started the quest to find her killer, detectives say they are as determined as ever to crack the 23 other unsolved murders in the Bristol area.
Little did they know, a few days later one of the most high-profile mysteries was about to be blown wide open by the discovery of Melanie Hall's body yards from the M5, near Thornbury.
DCI Carter said last night: "These cases are never closed until they are solved.
"For the last nine months the team have been working very hard on finding out what we have and where we are with 24 of the murder cases."
Mr Carter took over the team last November. They have been trawling through thousands of documents, papers and exhibits in a bid to crack the cases and find out whether new technology – particularly DNA – can be used to make progress.
"This has been a huge task," Mr Carter added. "We have 49 boxes of exhibits and files for the case of Melanie Road (who was killed in Bath in 1984).
"I was really pleased with the professional approach of my team, the work they put in and the information they could provide.
"I am satisfied now that if a victim's family came to me now I would be able to say what we've done and what we are doing. The families and the victims have not been forgotten."
In a bid to keep the crimes in the public psyche, Mr Carter said the team will publicise the cases on their anniversaries from now on.
There are 27 unsolved murder cases in the force area, 23 of which – with 24 victims – are linked to greater Bristol.
The oldest is that of Robert Parrington-Jackson, 32, who was shot dead as he worked in the office at Odeon Cinema in Union Street on May 29, 1946.
Although officially unsolved, in 1993 – and again last month – the son of the alleged killer named him as Billy "The Fish" Fisher, a petty crook from South Wales who travelled with an accomplice to rob the cinema. He admitted, on his death bed in 1989, shooting Mr Parrington-Jackson with a Colt 45.
The most recent unsolved murder is that of Dean Jeffery, who died on September 28, 2006, after he was assaulted in the Ridgeway Parade area of Fishponds a week earlier. Despite a reconstruction and continued appeals, his killer, or killers, have not been found.
Mr Jeffery's case was not part of the recent review as it is still with the Major Investigation Team.
The MCRT was set up in February 2003 to revisit historical crimes.
There have been numerous successes in cracking cases, in particular "stranger rapes", and so far 12 offenders have been jailed using DNA technology.
The latest conviction was that of Vincent Dally, 29, of Bowring Close, Hartcliffe, who was jailed last month for attempted rape, 14 years after attacking a 39-year-old woman in Hartcliffe.
In an interview with the Post earlier this year, head of CID Louisa Rolfe said: "Some cases are very, very challenging. If you can't get to the bottom of the case it's really frustrating for everyone involved. But we never let go of these cases."
Since Melanie Hall's body was found, her murder has become a "live" case. Forensic examinations are still being carried out.
If you have any information, call police on 0845 4567000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
The unsolved Bristol murders in full:
Robert Parrington-Jackson May 29, 1946
The 32-year-old was shot in the head with a Colt 45 while working in the office at Odeon Cinema in Union Street.
Although officially "unsolved", in 1993 the son of the killer had finally named him. Billy "The Fish" Fisher, a petty crook from South Wales who travelled with an accomplice to rob the cinema, admitted, on his death bed in 1989, panicking and shooting him twice.
George Black January 7, 1949
Married 52-year-old George, from Clifton, was killed during a robbery at Lloyds bank, Wells Road, Knowle. A man in a trilby shot Mr Black dead, then disappeared. Mr Black was in charge and struggled with the robber and was shot twice.
Carrying a briefcase full of money, the killer left the bank, got into an Austin Saloon which had been stolen that morning, and drove off.
June and Royston Sheasby July 1, 1957
The siblings went missing while playing in Snuff Mills Park on a warm evening in June.
A massive hunt for them by emergency services and thousands of volunteers took place. But 11 days later, any hopes of finding the brother and sister alive were shattered by the shrill blast of a police whistle.
Their bodies were later found in a shallow grave within the park.
They had been battered to death – possibly with a stone.
Louise Jane Dunne June 28, 1967
The 74-year-old, from Easton, was raped and strangled in her own home in Britannia Road. Friend Vi Allene noticed a window slightly open and climbed through, finding her prostrate body lying on the floor.
Philip Green March 31, 1970
Philip, of Sea Mills, was killed as he collected lost golf balls at Shirehampton golf course.
His body was found under trees on the course. He had been hit about the head several times and strangled. Nearby, was the bloodstained piece of wood used to kill him.
Glenis Carruthers January 19, 1974
The 20-year-old from Buckinghamshire left a 21st birthday party held for a friend on a freezing January night.
Somewhere in the darkness near Bristol Zoo she met her killer. A witness saw what he believed was a "courting couple" on grass nearby. But the man got up alone and later the body was found. More than 16,000 people were interviewed.
Glenis Carruthers was visiting Bristol for her friend's 21st birthday when she was strangled on January 19, 1974.
Police believe the 20-year-old PE student from Bedford left the party in The Avenue, Clifton, either to get some fresh air or to make a phone call at a nearby telephone box.
Zookeeper Alfred Elliot was walking his dogs when he saw what he thought was a "courting couple" on the grass nearby. But the man he saw got up alone and, later, Miss Carruthers's body was found.
The suspect was 20 to 25 years old, had brown shoulder-length hair and was wearing a three-quarter-length denim-type coat.
Mr Carter said: "No one ever saw her leave the party. That's one of the reasons why it's always been a mystery."
The review team is planning to send a string of black beads Miss Carruthers was wearing when she was strangled for DNA testing.
Susan Donaghue August 5, 1976
The 44-year-old nurse lay sleeping in her Stoke Bishop basement flat, when an intruder broke in.
He hit her seven times with a truncheon and sexually assaulted her, leaving behind the murder weapon, a pair of bloodstained gloves and a tobacco tin. Police believed the killer was local, in his early 20s, and "sexually inadequate".
Wendy Jenkins August 28, 1979
The Bristol prostitute was killed at the time that Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe was stalking the North of England on the hunt for his victims.
Miss Jenkins, 32, was found with stab and head injuries partially buried under a heap of sand in Backfields, St Paul's.
Derek Grain October 31, 1980
Mr Grain was beaten to death. His body was found in Brandon Lane, Clifton, after he had spent the evening at two nightclubs in nearby Park Street. The 39-year-old British Aerospace engineer may have been attacked by a gang who kicked him in the head as he lay dying.
The single 39-year-old had been staying at the Unicorn Hotel when he went out in Park Street. He had been seen in Curves and Vicky's nightclubs.
On the morning of November 1, 1980, his body was found in Brandon Lane behind 8 Berkeley Square. Mr Grain had severe head injuries but it is thought he suffocated after being attacked and robbed. His jacket had been removed and his credit cards were scattered on the ground.
The murder weapon was a traffic cone found 80 yards away on Brandon Hill, which provided no forensic breakthrough, but detectives hope tapings from the insides of his pockets could contain skin cells of his killer.
Mark Yendell October 12, 1984
Fears for the railway worker grew when he failed to arrive at his Bristol home.
Later, it was discovered that he had been battered around the head with a blunt instrument and dumped in Bristol docks. Police found the 32-year-old's abandoned car at Welsh Back and traced droplets of blood from there to the water.
Shelley Morgan Body found on October 14, 1994
The 34-year-old, from Windmill Hill, took her children to the school bus on June 11, 1984, and was never seen alive again.
Her naked body was found the following October in a shallow grave in a remote copse in Backwell, near Bristol.
Linda Guest April 21, 1985
The 35-year-old prostitute worked in St Paul's and was stabbed to death.Her body was dumped in a secluded lane in Frampton Cotterell. The mother-of-three, who was also known as Jackie Waines, was thought to have been sexually assaulted before she died.
Violet Milsom October 1, 1985
Mrs Milsom, 62, was found dead in her flat in Ashley Road, St Paul's, on October 1, 1985.
She had been strangled with a piece of her clothes and her hands had been tied with a pink belt. Her body had been mutilated with a five-inch knife.
Helen Fleet March 28, 1987
The 66-year-old from Weston was stabbed, beaten and strangled while walking her dog in Worlebury Woods.
A male suspect – believed to be in his 20s at the time – was seen running away from the spot where Mrs Fleet's body was found. A youth had been seen talking to her several times.
Michael Fahey January 12, 1989
Vagrant Mr Fahey was found dead on waste ground off Ashley Road, just yards from a main road crowded with people going to work.
The 33-year-old, who had been homeless for five years, was bludgeoned to death.
George Thorley July 28, 1989
Mr Thorley died following an assault. He was 46-years-old when he suffered a ruptured intestine in the attack in Bristol.
Keith Burgess December 17, 1989
Church-going railway steward Mr Burgess was supposed to be at work, but when a neighbour went to feed his cat she found the 38-year-old lying in a pool of blood.
He had been beaten to death with a hammer and stabbed. A scruffy man in a bobble hat was seen hanging around Mr Burgess' flat in Duchess Road, Clifton.
John Kilcoyne January 28, 1995
Found in a bed-sit in St Pauls with stab wound to neck. The 47-year-old and two men had been drinking heavily on the night of his death and police have struggled to get to the bottom of what happened.
Melanie Road in Bath June 1984
April 2014 Police are 'close to finding killer' of Bath teenager Melanie Road.
Police claim they are close to finding the killer of teenager Melanie Road, 30 years after her death.
The 17-year-old was stabbed to death after a night out in Bath in June 1984. More than 90 people were arrested but no-one was charged with her murder. Avon and Somerset Police say forensic advances could lead to new clues in the case.
Det Insp Julie Mackay said they were contacting hundreds of people to ask them for DNA samples.
The A-Level student was last seen alive in the early hours of Saturday June 9 in Broad Street after deciding to walk home alone. Her body was discovered later that morning by a milkman, close to a block of garages in St Stephens Court, Lansdown.
'Need a name'
Since then, new forensic techniques have enabled police to develop of a full DNA profile of the suspected killer.
"We are now cross-checking that DNA with that of all people with links with Melanie or who we know were in Bath at the time and may be of interest," said Det Insp Mackay.
"It is a long and laborious process but I believe Melanie's murderer is within that group."
Police have also appealed for a "significant witness," who contacted police five years ago, to come forward again.
Det Insp Mackay said the person had "important information".
"All we need is a name," she said.
Melanie Hall June 9, 1996
The 25-year-old went missing after a night out at Cadillac's nightclub in Bath.
Her body was not found until this week, off the M5 near Thornbury. She had been out with her German boyfriend of a few weeks, Dr Philip Kurlbaum, whom she worked with at Bath's Royal United Hospital.
Ann Myring June 25, 1997
The a mother-of-two from Stoke Gifford disappeared after leaving work colleagues at Hewlett Packard, in Filton, and her body has never been found.
Her husband Brian was charged with murder but was cleared in December, 1999, by a jury at Bristol Crown Court.
Christopher Hewitt June 10, 2001
The 18-year-old had only been living in Bristol for a few weeks when he was killed.
He was stabbed to death during a street brawl outside the Jolly Roger pub in All Hallows Road. The young Jamaican suffered multiple stab wounds. Detectives believe two knives were used in the attack. A group of about 15 people sat on a wall just yards away.
Evan Jones March 13, 2002
The former Chippenham rugby player was found beaten to death.
He had been kicked and punched in an attack described by police as "vicious and sustained". The 46-year-old father-of-two was attacked shortly after leaving his local pub, The Beaufort, in Montpelier.
Dean Jeffery September 28, 2006
Mr Jeffery was assaulted in the Ridgeway Parade area of Fishponds and his injuries were so serious he died just over a week later.
Despite a reconstruction and continued appeals for information on Avon and Somerset police's website, his killer, or killers, have not been found.
Some of the crimes have been a mystery for more than 60 years, others are still painfully fresh in the memories of the victims' families.
But almost all have been re-examined by Avon and Somerset police's Major Crime Review Team (MCRT) in the last nine months.
Head of the eight-strong team, Detective Chief Inspector Mike Carter, held a conference last Thursday at which detectives discussed the unsolved cases and any potential leads or developments.