Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Monday, 21 December 2009

Man admits 1983 teenager murder

Paul Stewart Hutchinson
Hutchinson sent a letter taunting the police that he had escaped justice

A man has admitted to murdering a 16-year-old Nottinghamshire schoolgirl 26 years ago.

The body of Colette Aram was found in a field near her Keyworth home the day after she disappeared in October 1983.

Paul Stewart Hutchinson, 51, of Stockgill Close, Gamston, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to murder at Nottingham Crown Court.

Colette's disappearance was the first case to be featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

The trainee hairdresser was abducted as she walked from her home to her boyfriend's house.

'Sexual motive'

She was sexually assaulted and strangled before her naked body was dumped in a field close to where she went missing.

Police officers discovered her body the following morning.

Greg Dickinson, QC, prosecuting, told the court that "the abduction and murder was premeditated and sexually motivated".

"Colette was abducted by force and her screams were heard by local residents.

Colette Aram

"The defendant then strangled Colette with his hands and abandoned her naked body in a field.

"Her body was arranged in a overtly sexual pose and he was later to write a letter to police in which he taunted them that he had never been detected," he said.

Hutchinson, a married father-of-three, was due to go on trial next month but changed his plea at Nottingham Crown Court.

The court heard that on 30 October, 1983, Hutchinson had hidden in a shed on Mudpie Lane in nearby Lady Bay watching girls horse riding.

He stole a red Ford Fiesta owned by the principal of the riding school and drove to Keyworth.

'Spared agony'

He had a bread knife with him and had approached a 17-year-old girl and another school girl before abducting Colette.

Police have confirmed Hutchinson was interviewed as part of the original investigation.

He was arrested after a DNA profile produced from evidence at the scene was linked to a family member on the national database.

Ch Supt Kevin Flint of Nottinghamshire Police on the surprise change of plea

Hutchinson has been told he could spend the rest of his life in jail.

Mr Justice Sweeney said: "I'm sure that you already understand that there's only one sentence that can be passed, namely a sentence of life imprisonment.

"The minimum term you must serve before you can be considered for parole may be that you must serve a whole life sentence."

Hutchinson is expected to be sentenced in the new year.

Det Supt Kevin Flint, who took over the investigation in December 2004, said: "Our thoughts today are with Colette's mum and dad, her family, and friends, who have endured 26 years knowing her killer has evaded justice.

"I am relieved that they have at least been spared the agony of a trial and will now have justice for Colette."


The case was the first case to be featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

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