Unsolved Murders in Suffolk

With a population of 761,350, Suffolk is the 32nd most populous county out of the 48 in England. Despite being relatively small, Suffolk police have identified 10 unsolved murders on their website, with an additional 4 that I have discovered but are not publicly highlighted.

This brings the total to at least 14, although there may be more that I have not yet researched. Any number of unsolved murders is too many, and while I am not a police officer and therefore cannot criticise their efforts, the high number of open cases raises questions. While we may all have opinions and speculations about the perpetrators and circumstances, this article simply aims to summarise the open cases and present the known facts.

The unsolved murders currently highlighted on the Suffolk police website are:-

Linda Smith – 1961

Linda Smith, a resident of Earls Colne in Essex and aged twelve, was conversing with a cobbler on the main street of her village when she was last sighted alive. Following a search, her body was discovered in the Suffolk countryside by a retired farmworker four days later. The autopsy revealed that she had been strangled with her own scarf. The Metropolitan, Essex, and Suffolk police collaborated in the investigation, and despite questioning multiple people, no charges were filed.

Bernard Oliver – 1967

On January 6th, 1967, Oliver, a warehouse worker from London, who was only 17 years old, vanished. A mere ten days later, his dismembered body was discovered in suitcases near Tattingstone, Ipswich. Despite numerous suspects, including medical professionals Martin Reddington and John Byles, record producer and songwriter Joe Meek, and even Reggie Kray, nobody has been charged with his murder.

Dora Pratt – 1982

On 9 January 1982, a robbery took place at the Bulstrode Road premises in Ipswich of a 76-year-old shopkeeper who was subsequently struck on the head three times. Although she survived the attack, she eventually succumbed to her injuries on 6 July. The stolen items from the shop indicated that the motive behind the attack was robbery. A comprehensive investigation was conducted, which garnered considerable media coverage. Approximately 4,700 individuals, including several suspects who were later ruled out, were interviewed during the investigation.

Diane Jones – 1983

After returning from the local pub on Saturday 23 July 1983, Jones disappeared outside her Coggeshall, Essex residence which she shared with her husband. Her body was discovered with a fractured skull three months later in an area near Martlesham in Brightwell. The police suspected foul play and arrested her husband on 14 November 1983 and 16 June 1990, but he was released without charge on both occasions.

Edna Harvey – 1984

Smoke was spotted by worried neighbors coming from Edna Harvey’s ground-floor residence in Ipswich on Tuesday 28 August 1984. Upon investigation, authorities discovered that her bed had been set on fire after she was attacked by her killer. Investigators believed that the motive behind the murder was a failed burglary. Edna Harvey was 87 years old at the time of her death.

Jeanette Kempton – 1989

At 7.15pm on 2 February, Jeanette Kempton, aged 32, was last seen at The Loughborough Hotel in Brixton, south London. She resided in Brixton with her family and had no affiliation with the Suffolk area where her corpse was discovered on the Earl of Stradbroke’s estate, Wangford, on 18 February. Her coat, one shoe, purse, a selection of jewelry, and a funeral wreath she had purchased were all absent. Jeanette had been strangled. At one point, police had five suspects in connection to Jeanette’s murder, including her ex-spouse, but no one has yet been found guilty.

Doris Shelley – 1993

Yet another failed burglary resulted in tragedy. When a concerned neighbor attempted to deliver groceries to Mrs. Shelley but received no answer at her door, they decided to break a lounge window to gain entry to her bungalow. Upon entering, they discovered the 82-year-old woman cowering in her kitchen. It was evident that she had been struck on the head with a blunt object, causing significant harm. Sadly, Mrs. Shelley passed away in the hospital ten days later, on February 21st.

Karen Hales – 1993

On Sunday, November 21st, Karen Hales, who was 21 years old, was brutally attacked in her own home. The assailant not only stabbed her but also attempted to set her body on fire. Furthermore, it appears that the perpetrator also stole some belongings from the residence. Although two individuals were apprehended, they were never formally charged.

Vicky Hall – 1999

Undoubtedly, the most high-profile of all unresolved murders is that of Vicky Hall, who was only 17 years old when she disappeared around 2:30 am on Sunday, September 19, 1999, while walking home to Trimley St Mary after a night out in Felixstowe. Her lifeless body was discovered approximately 25 miles away, in a stream near Creeting St Peter, on Friday, September 24, 1999. After a trial, a local businessman was acquitted of Vicky’s murder in 2001. As of Friday, July 30, 2021, Steve Wright has been detained, interrogated, and subsequently released in connection with the murder.

Richard Clarke – 2009

On the evening of August 21, a couple strolling by the retired thatcher’s residence observed a man (who is now believed to be Clarke) in the driveway holding the back of his head. The next morning, another pedestrian spotted Clarke in the same spot, where he had already fallen to the ground. He was declared deceased shortly after being transported to the hospital. A forensic pathologist who examined his body concluded that he had been punched and dragged down to the ground just before he was spotted clutching the back of his head. As a result, the police are appealing to anyone who has information about the attack to come forward.

The unsolved murders not featured on the Suffolk Police website are:-

Perry Wenham – 1992

Perry Wenham’s murder charges against two men were dismissed by the judge during their trial due to the weak case presented against them. The only evidence presented was that the men were seen with Wenham in the town center before being spotted without him and quickly walking away from the lane where his body was found stabbed in the church’s graveyard. One of the men confessed to witnessing Wenham being knocked down but denied any involvement in causing harm to him.

Amanda Duncan – 1993

Despite the absence of 26-year-old Amanda Duncan’s remains, authorities are regarding her vanishing as a murder investigation. On July 2, 1993, Amanda, who was employed as a sex worker, was last sighted in Ipswich’s Portman Road vicinity. Although Steve Wright has been connected to the case, there is no concrete evidence to support this conjecture.

Jimoh Plunkett – 2006

The young adult hailing from London was fatally shot in the chest while at Zest nightclub in Ipswich. He was later declared dead at the main hospital in town. Another individual, Errol Davis, who was considered one of two main suspects in the murder, passed away in a similar manner in an unsolved case in October 2008. Davis was also from London.

Sudbury Bones Victim – 2020

The River Stour in Sudbury, Suffolk, yielded bin bags containing unidentified human remains, including bones and detached legs. The deceased individual was a man with a fit physique, but further particulars remain unknown.

Various online articles and the Suffolk police website were consulted to gather the information presented in this article, which was written in June of 2021. It is important to note that any updates or new developments that have occurred since the article’s publication will not have been addressed.

By Verso

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