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Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Murder witness found after 10 years
Joanna Parrish
No-one has ever been arrested for the murder of Joanna Parrish
A potential witness in the case of murdered British student Joanna Parrish has been traced by police 10 years after the killing.

The man, who was a friend of the Parrish family, was believed to have been living in France at the time the 20-year-old student was sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in the river Yonne in Auxerre.

French officers flew in from the Gendarmerie Nationale on Monday to interview the man after a tip-off from Gloucestershire police through Interpol.

They returned to France on Thursday after taking DNA samples, leaving inquiries in the hands of British police.

Gloucestershire detective chief inspector Wayne Murdock said: "In the early 1990s there was an important potential witness from Gloucestershire who the French police wanted to question.

"For a number of reasons the whereabouts of this man did not become known to British police until some weeks ago."

French officers Thierry Bouilleveaux and Michel Toussaint travelled to England to question the man for four days and met the student's father Roger Parrish, of Newnham-on-Severn.

Mr Parrish, who has just returned from a week-long trip to Auxerre to mark his daughter's death, welcomed the renewed interest from the authorities but did not feel the discovery was significant.

He said: "I know who the man is. I would be very surprised if he was a suspect.

"He was one of a family in France who were friends of ours."

Mr Parrish added that the actions of the French police at least showed they were "pushing in the same direction".

The 57-year-old father and his ex-wife Pauline Sewell, Joanna's mother, distributed 2,000 leaflets in Auxerre on their trip hoping to trigger local memory about the incident.

They have never given up hope of finding their daughter's killer, who is thought to have replied to a newspaper ad for English lessons placed by the language student.

No-one has ever been arrested for her murder.

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