[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 08:09 GMT
New DNA clue in 1964 murder hunt
Anne Dunwell
Police believe the new DNA evidence could lead them to Anne's killer
Police investigating South Yorkshire's oldest unsolved murder have revealed a major breakthrough in the case thanks to new DNA technology.

The naked body of 13-year-old Anne Dunwell was found in a manure heap near Maltby, Rotherham, on 6 May 1964. She had been sexually abused and strangled.

Detectives who recovered DNA from the original exhibits have discovered that it contains "unusual features".

"This is a very exciting development," said Det Sgt Sue Hickman.

She said South Yorkshire Police would now be approaching a number of families in the region and seeking their co-operation to identify relatives from the 1960s.

Cases like this one will never be closed and will be reviewed with each new development in forensic science - until the culprit is known
Det Sgt Sue Hickman

"It is now possible to identify families on the national DNA database who have this uncommon aspect to their make-up," said Ms Hickman.

The technique is similar to familial DNA, which was successfully used by South Yorkshire Police earlier this year to trace the so-called Dearne Valley Shoe Rapist James Lloyd, who was jailed for life in September.

"This is a very exciting development and I hope that it will finally give Anne's family the closure they deserve," said Ms Hickman.

"Innocent people have nothing to fear from this inquiry as we can conclusively eliminate anyone who is not the offender.

"The only person with anything to fear is the individual who sexually abused and murdered Anne Elizabeth Dunwell."

The teenager had visited her aunt at Bramley on the evening of Wednesday 6 May 1964 and had planned to spend the night there.

'Never closed'

But she decided to return home to Whiston to be with her grandmother, who would have been alone as her grandfather was working nights.

She set off from her aunt's that night to catch the bus, but never made it home.

Her body was found the next day, off Carr Lane, between the villages of Carr and Slade Hooton.

A post-mortem examination revealed Anne had been strangled with her own stockings.

Hundreds of officers have since worked on the murder hunt, which was the subject of a cold case review in 2002.

The case has regularly featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme and a large number of men have already been traced and eliminated from the investigation.

Ms Hickman said: "We're working very closely on this investigation with the Forensic Science Service and the Home Office Police Standards Unit, which are supporting cold cases around the country as part of a national operation.

"Cases like this one will never be closed and will be reviewed with each new development in forensic science - until the culprit is known."

Records hold clue to 1964 murder
19 Sep 05 |  South Yorkshire
Privacy laws hinder murder hunt
13 Sep 05 |  South Yorkshire
New lead in 40-year murder hunt
18 Oct 04 |  South Yorkshire
New clue in 40-year murder hunt
07 May 03 |  England
Witness found after 38 years
03 Oct 02 |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific