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Monday, May 24, 1999 Published at 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK


DNA evidence reopens murder hunt

Police declined to say how the DNA sample was obtained

New DNA evidence in the unsolved murder inquiry of a woman stabbed to death in 1970 has been uncovered, and police are hopeful it may lead them to her killer.

The body of Rita Sawyer, 18, was found in a field in Chesterton, near Leamington Spa. She had been three months pregnant.

The BBC's Geeta Guru-Murthy: "Police are still hopeful they can find her killer"
Warwickshire Police described it as a "very brutal murder", and about 70 officers tried in vain to solve the case.

But an exhibit from the original investigation, which has revealed the killer's DNA, has been submitted to the Forensic Science Service. Police now want to take mouth swabs from the men they interviewed 29 years ago.

DNA profile

A Warwickshire Police spokesman declined to say how the DNA sample was obtained, or how many subjects would be tested.

But he did say that detectives want to "eliminate men who featured in the investigation, and match the new [DNA] profile to the killer".

Ms Sawyer left home three months before her death, and was believed to be sleeping rough.

Police think she was picked up in a car by someone she knew, or by a kerb-crawler. More than 100 women interviewed at the time said they had been approached by men in cars, usually at night.

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