Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Fresh inquiry into death of Shirley Bassey's daughter

Shirley Bassey and her family, including daughter Samantha Novak. Photo: The Sun
Shirley Bassey raised Samantha with second husband Sergio Novak

Police have confirmed they are making fresh inquiries into the death of Dame Shirley Bassey's daughter.

Samantha Novak, 21, was found face-down in the River Avon near Bristol in 1985. The death was believed to be accidental.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said it was investigating a claim that convicted killer Michael Moffat, 47, was involved in the death.

She said the mother of Moffat's victim had written to police with information.

Moffat, originally from Edinburgh, was jailed for 11 years for killing his lover Penny Beale in Hastings, East Sussex in 2001.

Currently held in a Scottish prison, Moffat left Ms Beale with 123 injuries including 18 broken ribs, while her liver, spleen and lungs were ruptured.

According to her mother, Ms Beale alleged that Moffat had told her he was involved in Ms Novak's death.

Moffat is also alleged to have claimed he was in a relationship with Ms Novak when she died.

Dame Shirley Bassey
Dame Shirley said she never believed her daughter had killed herself

The Welsh singer has always maintained that Ms Novak's death was not an accident or suicide.

Dame Shirley, who has an elder daughter Sharon and adopted son Mark, raised Ms Novak with second husband Sergio Novak.

In October last year she told reporters she always had suspicions surrounding her daughter's death.

"I never believed that she killed herself," she said.

"If she'd jumped off the bridge, all her bones would have been broken."

Soon after the death a coroner said it appeared Miss Novak tumbled off the riverbank after a night out with friends.

The coroner added that there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.

Det Ch Insp Mike Carter, head of Avon and Somerset Police's major crime review team, said: "The mother of Moffat's victim wrote to us with some information in the last couple of weeks.

"Her daughter had said that Moffat told her he was involved in the murder of Samantha Novak.

"We looked at the circumstances surrounding the death six months ago after comments made by Dame Shirley Bassey.

"There was nothing from the coroner's report to suggest it was murder rather than suicide.

"This information is obviously additional so we are making fresh inquiries."

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