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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 13:31 GMT
Murders suspect may be exhumed
Victims of Llandarcy woods double murder
Pauline Floyd and Geraldine Hughes were on a night out
Police have confirmed they are applying to exhume the body of a chief suspect in the murders of three teenagers in west Glamorgan 28 years ago.

The bodies of Pauline Floyd and Geraldine Hughes, both 16, were found in woods in Llandarcy near Neath in September,1973.

Three months before Sandra Newton, also 16, failed to return home from a night out with friends in Briton Ferry and her body was later uncovered in a culvert at Tonmawr, Neath.

BBC Crimewatch reconstruction
A BBC Crimewatch reconstruction boosted the inquiry

On Wednesday, South Wales Police said they were liaising with the Home Office over the exhumation.

Detective Chief Superintendent Wynne Phillips said he wanted to stress that the deceased man was still a suspect.

There was a "substantial amount of forensic and legal processes to be followed," he said.

On Monday officers said the unnamed man was living in the west Glamorgan area at the time of the killings in 1973.

DNA evidence has only recently linked the three deaths.

The availability of new forensic techniques was responsible for detectives 're-opening' the cases.

Officers have tracked down dozens of possible suspects from the murder files - some of whom who had moved as far away as Australia.

The man police now suspect is responsible - who featured in the original inquiry - was in his early 30s and married at the time.

Raped and strangled

South Wales Police have said that he was later estranged from his wife before dying of natural causes in 1990.

"We view this development as highly significant and it has led the investigation into a new chapter," said Detective Superintendent Wynne Phillips.

"The investigating team will have a lot of work to do but we intend to keep the public fully updated at each relevant stage of the inquiry."

Victims of Llandarcy woods double murder
The 1973 murders sparked a massive inquiry

The murders were reconstructed for the BBC's Crimewatch programme in January this year which showed Pauline and Geraldine hitch-hiking home after a night out in Swansea's Top Rank Suite.

Witnesses later saw them being picked up on the outskirts of the city by the driver of a light coloured car.

They had been raped and strangled.

Their deaths led to a massive murder inquiry during which 30,000 people were questioned, including 10,000 motorists.

Serial killer Fred West was ruled out of the inquiry after it emerged he had lived close to Llandarcy - where he had worked as a labourer at the BP oil refinery - at the time the teenagers were killed.

For more information on the Llandarcy murder investigation, see the South Wales Police website.

BBC Wales' Rebecca John
"Sandra Newton's body was found in a ditch"
See also:

29 Oct 01 | Wales
Woodland murders 'breakthrough'
15 Sep 01 | Wales
Fresh appeal on woods murders
13 Jun 01 | Wales
Website hope for woods murder
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