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BBC Wales's George Herd
"Officers are still determined to catch the killers"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's chief reporter Penny Roberts
"In a dramatic move, South Wales Police said both persons had been released without charge"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 23 January, 2001, 17:35 GMT
Clydach murders: No charges
Murder victims Mandy Power, Katie, Emily and Doris Dawson
The family's bodies were discovered in their home
An ex-policewoman has said it was a lesbian affair which led to her arrest on suspicion of the brutal murders of a family of four.

Alison Lewis, 33, was speaking after it had been confirmed that neither she nor her estranged husband - a police sergeant - would not be charged over what have become known as the Clydach murders.

One of the biggest murder hunts ever got under way after Mandy Power, 34, her daughter Katie, 10, and Emily, eight, and her mother Doris Dawson, 80, were beaten to death.

"I think they (the police) thought the gay issue had something to do with the crime. They went down this one track and they were wrong

Former suspect Alison Lewis

Their bodies were found at the home they shared in Clydach, in the Swansea Valley. The murder weapon - a four-foot long metal pole - was later found nearby.

Detectives believe Mandy Power, 34, was killed as she attempted to save her daughters from their killer who then tried to set fire to the family home in a bid to cover their tracks.

Former police constable 33-year-old Alison Lewis and police sergeant Steve Lewis, 38, were arrested on suspicion of murder in July 1999 and were later released on police bail.

But Ms Lewis alleges that South Wales Police had become side-tracked by the fact that she and Ms Power had become lovers.

"When the murders occurred, I was having a relationship with Mandy, which became public," she said.

"I think they (the police) thought the gay issue had something to do with the crime. They went down this one track and they were wrong.

"I think they handled it completely and utterly incompetently.

"I cannot lead a normal life until the person responsible for this crime is caught. My life will never be the same again."

It was on Tuesday that detectives revealed that neither would be charged following advice to the Crown Prosecution Service that there was "insufficient evidence".

Mr Lewis's twin brother Stuart - a police inspector - was also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. His bail has been extended and he remains suspended from work.

Clydach murder house
The house where the murders took place

Meanwhile, South Wales Police have reiterated their determination to catch the killers.

"Whilst I acknowledge this decision might seem to be a setback to some I can reassure the family, the community and the people of south Wales that the inquiry will continue," said Assistant Chief Constable Tony Rogers.

"These victims were part of a close loving family and were ordinary people. What happened to them should not go unpunished and I ask anyone who has any information to search their conscience."

The murder hunt has so far cost 2m and a team of 50 officers has worked around the clock to catch the killers.

Police officers - who have featured the case several times on BBC's Crimewatch UK programme - have taken have taken more than 1,430 statements and interviewed more than 2,000 people.

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