Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Man sentenced to life for 1983 murder of Colette Aram

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

A former youth worker has been jailed for life for the murder of a teenage girl in Nottinghamshire in 1983.

Paul Stewart Hutchinson, 51, of West Bridgford, pleaded guilty to the murder of 16-year-old Colette Aram after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.

He was told at Nottingham Crown Court he will serve a minimum term of 25 years.

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

The court heard Hutchinson raped and strangled Colette before dumping her body in a field near her Keyworth home.

Hutchinson, who lived seven streets away from the teenager at the time, admitted the murder when he appeared in court in December.

Residents 'heard screams'

He was interviewed as part of the original investigation but was only arrested after a DNA profile produced from evidence at the scene was linked to a family member on the national database.

The court heard Hutchinson, who also worked as an electrician, abducted the trainee hairdresser as she walked from her home to her boyfriend's house.

Colette Aram's mother, Jacqui Kirkby spoke outside court after sentencing

He then raped her and strangled her before dumping her naked body in a field close to where she went missing.

Police officers discovered her body the following morning.

At the time of Hutchinson's guilty plea, Greg Dickinson, QC, prosecuting, told the court that "the abduction and murder was premeditated and sexually motivated".

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

He added that Hutchinson, who later married and had children, wrote a letter to police "in which he taunted them that he had never been detected".

Mr Justice Flaux described Colette's murder as a "truly horrendous attack".

He said: "The terror and degradation that this poor girl must have suffered at the hands of a stranger in her last few moments are unimaginable.

"It's clear from the evidence before the court that you (Hutchinson) are a compulsive liar and fantasist.

"You have lived your life with your wife and children who were completely ignorant of who you were."

Family asks 'why?'

The court heard Hutchinson had hidden in a shed on Mudpie Lane in nearby Lady Bay watching girls horse riding before the attack.

He stole a car owned by the principal of the riding school and drove to Keyworth.

Colette Aram
Colette was walking to her boyfriend's house when she was abducted

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

He then drove to the Generous Briton pub in nearby Costock, where he ordered a pint of orange juice and lemonade and a ploughman's roll.

The landlady became suspicious after seeing blood on his hand, and police retrieved a paper towel used by Hutchinson from the pub bathroom, containing his DNA.

While police hunted for the killer, Hutchinson evaded capture by shaving his head to make it look like he had cancer and telling his family he had to go away for treatment.

When he was arrested, he tried to blame his brother Gerhard, who died in January 2008, until police found a DNA sample ruling Gerhard out.

Eventually he confessed to fellow prison inmates as he was awaiting trial.

The court heard Hutchinson told police that he could not remember the murder, which he described as being "like a dream".

Colette's mother Jacqui Kirkby said Hutchinson's sentencing brings some relief, but the family now need to know why Colette was killed - a question Hutchinson has so far refused to comment on.

She added: "I don't feel a life sentence is enough - he's had 27 years of his life.

"We have already served a life sentence and we're now going to serve a second - he's just about to serve his first."

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