Page last updated at 08:34 GMT, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Fresh clues in fire murder hunt

Tracey Mertens
Tracey Mertens suffered 95% burns

Detectives are following up new leads after a television appeal over the murder of a mother who was set on fire.

Tracy Mertens, 31, from Rochdale, was abducted in Birmingham and doused in petrol in a Cheshire churchyard on 23 December, 1994. She died hours later.

Cheshire Police say they are following up 100 new pieces of information after an appeal on BBC One's Crimewatch.

A £30,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the conviction of Ms Mertens' killers.

Before she died, Ms Mertens told officers she was abducted in Nechells, Birmingham, by two men who had been looking for her partner Joey.

I firmly believe that there are those who know who did this to Tracy, even if they played no part in it themselves, and have been kept silent for a decade and a half
Det Ch Insp Paul Bailey
Cheshire Police

Ms Mertens, who had two young children, had set off from her home in Rochdale on 22 December to collect belongings from her previous home in Nechells.

Ms Mertens told officers she was blindfolded and bundled into a battered yellow Ford Escort before being set alight.

She was discovered by a passer-by on the steps of a church in Eaton, Cheshire. Her burns were so bad, her rescuer thought she was wearing a Halloween costume, police said.

Det Ch Insp Paul Bailey, of Cheshire Police, said: "Every single piece of information offered following the reconstruction is being followed up rigorously by detectives.

"I firmly believe that there are those who know who did this to Tracy, even if they played no part in it themselves, and have been kept silent for a decade and a half.

"If you come forward, the police can take action to protect you. We also now have DNA, which means that if you have suspicions about anyone, by giving us a name we can eliminate individuals from the enquiry."

Before her death, Ms Mertens described her abductors as two black men, aged about 30, who were fat and had Birmingham accents.



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