‘Bedsit murder’ victim’s parents still hope the killer will be found

'Bedsit murder' victim's parents still hope the killer will be found

THE parents of murder victim Wendy Knell have issued a new plea for information about the murder of their daughter in Tunbridge Wells almost 30 years ago.

Wendy Knell was found dead in her bedsit in Guildford Road on 23 June 1987. The 25-year-old had been sexually assaulted and beaten to death.

Her mother Pam said last week that she still kisses a photo of Wendy every time she leaves her home in Tonbridge.

Wendy’s father Bill is seriously ill with cancer, but the couple are still hoping that someone will come forward with information that might lead to the arrest of the killer.

“This happened and my life finished”

Mr Knell, now 82, said: “They say time is a healer but it’s not. It is always in the back of your mind.

“The hospital has said they can’t do any more for me, and I would really like him caught before the end comes. I want to know, why did he have to kill her?”

Mrs Knell, 80, had been celebrating her birthday in the months before her daughter was killed. She said: “They all said that life begins at 50. This happened and my life finished.”

Kent Police said last week: “Detectives remain committed to identifying her killer and bringing them to justice.”

The investigation into the murder found there were no clear signs of a forced entry and no one who lived in the vicinity had heard anything unusual. A distinctive keyring and Wendy’s diary were found to be missing.

Wendy’s parents

The keyring, a souvenir from Austria, consisted of a small brass cow bell and a brass plate with ‘Woman Of The Year’ engraved on it.

A second young woman from Tunbridge Wells was found murdered five months later, and the crime bore a close resemblance to Wendy’s death.

Twenty-year-old Caroline Pierce was found naked and strangled in a ditch near the village of St Mary in the Marsh in Romney Marsh. She had also been sexually assaulted and beaten.

She was last seen alive in Tunbridge Wells at around midnight on November 24 1987, when a taxi dropped her off at her home in Grosvenor Park after a night out with friends.

She was attacked outside her home and several neighbours reported hearing screams. She was not seen alive again and her naked body was dumped in a ditch 40 miles away.

The two notorious crimes became known as the ‘bedsit murders’. They remain formally linked by Kent Police and under review by Cold Case detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

A full DNA profile of the prime suspect was produced in 2007 and since then more than 500 people from as far afield as Australia have been swabbed, checked and eliminated from the investigation.

Last week Detective Chief Inspector Rob Vinson said: “I don’t think any of us can imagine the sheer horror these families have been through over all these years.

“I know this was 30 years ago, but someone may have had their suspicions at the time, or even just recently formed.”

He added: “That may have been the obvious blood on hands or clothing, or it could be the disposing of clothing, a change in behaviour, or just acting strangely around that time.”

If you have any information to pass on to the police, please call 01622 604100 or email west.division.media.appeals@Kent.pnn.police.uk, quoting reference SC/000068/07. You can also contact Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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