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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Murder mystery findings delayed
Hilda Murrell's nephew, Robert Green, with DCI Jim Tozer; copyright West Mercia Police 2002
Ms Murrell's nephew (left) meets with DCI Jim Tozer
Campaigners pressing for an answer to one of the UK's most controversial unsolved murder cases have criticised delays in the police investigation.

West Mercia Police say it could now be 2003 before any findings from the review of the death of 78-year-old anti-nuclear protestor Hilda Murrell are made public - more than three months later than expected.

Ms Murrell's battered body was found in woodland on Haughmond Hill, six miles from her home in Shrewsbury, in March 1984.

CND and outspoken Labour MP Tam Dalyell, who has claimed the intelligence service could be behind the death, are calling for the review to be brought to a speedy conclusion.

Hilda Murrell
Ms Murrell was an anti-nuclear campaigner

He said: "They have got to tell us what they know and close the file."

A protester against the Sizewell B nuclear power station, Ms Murrell was the aunt of Commander Robert Green, a naval intelligence officer who passed the order for the sinking of the Argentinian ship the Belgrano during the Falklands War.

That fuelled speculation there may have been more to her death than simply a burglary that went wrong, which was the police's theory at the time.

In April 2002, a review of the case was opened with officers originally predicting it would take just five months to complete.

But the small team of detectives, researchers and analysts have been overwhelmed by the amount of material they have to look at - said to include 300 boxes containing 120,000 pieces of information, 65,000 index cards and more than 3,000 exhibits.

A further delay came when the officer in charge, Detective Superintendent John Cashion, retired.

Not accountable

Mr Dalyell, MP for Linlithgow, told BBC News Online: "It comes to the point after nearly two decades when you have to say what you know and then leave it.

"I do not know if I have faith or not. I can only assume that they are doing their best."

UK chairwoman of CND Carol Naughton added: "If the inquiry goes into next year, CND will start to ask questions about the length of the review process."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "The indication we gave before was only an indication. We do not hold ourselves accountable to those deadlines."

Mr Green, who is now an active anti-nuclear campaigner living in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been reinterviewed as part of the review.


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04 Apr 02 | England
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