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Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 00:53 GMT


'Victim's underwear stolen before murder'

Cynthia Bolshaw - found dead in her bath

Tights, panties and a bra belonging to a murder victim known as the "Beauty in the Bath" were stolen from her washing line just a few days before her death, a court has heard.

Cynthia Bolshaw told friends she received a phonecall later on the night of the theft from a mystery heavy breather.

Liverpool Crown Court also heard written evidence from Colin Wynne Evans, a self-employed builder who enjoyed a six-month relationship with the divorcee and described her as "red-hot".

Found naked

The jury was hearing evidence during the trial of John Taft, a 49-year-old glazing company director.

Mr Taft from Birkenhead, Merseyside, denies murdering Mrs Bolshaw, a 50-year-old beauty consultant for Christian Dior, on a date between 8 and 9 October, 1983.

The court heard Mrs Bolshaw, who kept diaries containing the names of up to 200 men, was found naked and face down in the bath at her bungalow in Heswall, Merseyside. Her body was badly bruised.

The jury has heard Mr Taft told his wife he had burned and buried clothes he was wearing when he visited Mrs Bolshaw on the day of her death.

He also asked her to say she spent the weekend with him, fearing he would be framed for the murder.

Despite telling detectives at the time he did not know the divorcee, DNA profiling linked a semen stain on the dead beautician's black negligee to Mr Taft, the jury has heard.

'Purely sexual relationship'

In a written statement Mr Evans, who lived with his wife, said he met Mrs Bolshaw in 1972 when she worked as a barmaid in the Hotel Victoria, Heswall.

Describing Mrs Bolshaw as a "good-looking girl", he said he took her home after work and ended up making love with her.

He said: "To be fair with you, she was red hot. Sometimes I would call on her during the day but usually when I took her home from work.

"After a while sense prevailed and I didn't bother with her again. It was a purely sexual relationship and she never put any pressure on me."

The witness also told police about a Hong Kong policeman who Mrs Bolshaw dined with at her home, a solicitor based in Chester and a farmer she had met at the Cheshire Show.

The jury was shown extracts from the dead woman's 1983 diaries and directed to numerous entries denoting meetings with a man named as Joe.

Bloodstain on pillowcase

The court heard evidence from forensic biologist Roy Green who said the chance of the semen stain found on the negligee belonging to anyone other than the defendant were 160 million to one.

He said: "The tests provided extremely strong evidence that the semen originated from Taft rather than someone related to him."

But Mr Green said analysis of a blood stain found on a lilac pillowcase in Mrs Bolshaw's bedroom showed a mixed profile with "at least two individuals contributing to DNA".

The scientist said while one of the contributors may have been Mrs Bolshaw, the second in his opinion was also a woman.

The trial continues.

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