Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Will Georgina Edmonds' torture murder ever be solved?

By Damon Embling,
Home Affairs Correspondent, BBC South

Georgina Edmonds
Post-mortem tests showed Georgina Edmonds died from head injuries

Hampshire detectives say they have made a significant breakthrough in their hunt for the killer of pensioner Georgina Edmonds.

But two years on, how close are they to solving this horrific crime?

The 77-year-old was subjected to a brutal attack at her picturesque cottage in the village of Brambridge, near Winchester, on 11 January 2008.

She suffered a number of stab wounds, after apparently being tortured with a knife for her bank Pin number.

She was then beaten over the head with her marble rolling pin and left for dead on the kitchen floor.

Damning evidence

For two years, detectives have been sifting through evidence left at the crime scene and piecing together events surrounding the violent murder.

They have also made several high-profile appeals, including one on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

Officers have had more than 1,000 calls from the community and taken more than 1,700 statements. But the killer has never been identified.

What we now have is a profile of an individual who we can now put at the scene of the murder of Georgina Edmonds
Det Ch Insp Paul Barton

Now detectives say they have a DNA profile of the killer.

This is hugely significant and potentially damning evidence. If police can find the owner of the DNA, that person could be the killer. But finding the owner is not straightforward.

Det Ch Insp Paul Barton, from Hampshire Constabulary, said: "What we now have is a profile of an individual who we can now put at the scene of the murder of Georgina Edmonds.

"We're confident that DNA profile is of the killer. What we now need is a name."

On Monday police also revealed an area of Eastleigh, Hampshire, where they believe the murderer may be from or connected to.

It is just a few miles from Mrs Edmonds' cottage. It takes in Boyatt Wood and a Tesco Express store where the killer tried to use Mrs Edmonds' bank card on the day of the murder.

Georgina Edmonds' house in Brambridge
Georgina Edmonds' body was found by her son at her home

The focus area was identified by criminal profilers, who analysed the killer's likely behaviour and movements on the day of the crime.

"We've spoken to offender profilers and we're happy now that the killer has local connections here," said Det Ch Insp Barton.

"Either they resided here at the time of the murder or they have connections through work, through friends or associates."

Armed with the new DNA evidence and the area they believe the killer could be linked to, detectives are now starting a long task of taking DNA samples from about 500 people known to the police investigation and who have links to the area.

This will take months rather than days. But it could take police closer to the murderer.

If the samples yield no results, then the net is likely to be spread wider.

'Just deserts'

More people in Boyatt Wood and surrounding areas in Eastleigh may also be asked to give a DNA sample, so they can be eliminated from the investigation.

One Boyatt Wood resident told BBC South: "The fact that he seems to know his way about, he knew how to get along the canal, point to the fact that he might be local."

As time goes by, two years now, people will wonder whether Mrs Edmonds' killer will ever be caught.

The man was filmed at cash machine a few miles from Mrs Edmonds' home

Deb Payne, who lives in Brambridge, said: "We're still really no closer to resolving it, so everybody in the environment would like it to be solved and him to get his just deserts really."

Meanwhile, Mrs Edmonds' family say they are still confident that detectives will close the net.

Harry Edmonds, her son, said: "Although two years have elapsed, we remain completely confident in the police investigation and fully support their efforts to find the man who committed this awful crime.

"Someone must know who committed this crime and I feel sure that assistance from the local community will help bring my mother's killer to justice."

Hampshire police have brought in new detectives to work on the murder investigation and they say they are committed to solving this violent crime.

But they need a name and they are now pinning their hopes on the community in Eastleigh providing that.



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SEE ALSO
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