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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 22:13 GMT
Crimewatch appeal for OAP's killer
Mabel Leyshon's bungalow, Anglesey
The reconstruction aims to jog viewers' memories
Detectives in north Wales have appealed on BBC's Crimewatch programme for help in the hunt for the killer of an elderly widow from Anglesey.

Mabel Leyshon, 90, was repeatedly stabbed while watching television at her bungalow in Llanfairpwll on 25 November.

North Wales Police only revealed on Wednesday that the pensioner had been mutilated - the killer had removed her heart in what could have been a ritualistic effort.

Mabel Leyshon, murder victim
Mabel Leyshon: Her body was mutilated
The appeal aired on Thursday's Crimewatch UK included a reconstruction of the events leading to Mrs Leyshon's horrific killing.

In a rare move, the item also included a Welsh-language appeal in a bid to reach possible witnesses in the village.

Detective Superintendent Alan Jones of North Wales Police told the programme it was the most horrific murder he had seen in his 25 years of experience.

Two pokers were left in a cross formation at Mrs Leyshon's feet and her heart was taken to another location in the sitting room after being removed.

But police have found no connection with witchcraft after consulting experts on the occult.

Det Sup Jones, who is leading the hunt, said they had ruled out burglary as the prime motive for the offender breaking into the property.

'Mentally ill'

Mr Jones said he believed the killer lived locally and was mentally ill.

"The thoughts are he's local, may well have a mental illness... is socially isolated and will have demonstrated some extremely strange behaviour," he said.

He added the offender may well live with elderly parents.

Forensic officers enter Mrs Leyshon's bungalow
Forensic officers enter Mrs Leyshon's bungalow

More than 60 officers involved in the murder hunt have now questioned more than 100 people in detail about their movements at the time of the widow's death.

But a man spotted outside Mrs Leyshon's home on the afternoon of 24 November was eliminated from the probe after he told police he was waiting for a lift.

Detectives are still anxious to trace the owner of a light-blue van seen parked in the driveway a week before the woman's death.

Two men were seen next to the van, and police are keen to eliminate them from their inquiries.

Police efforts

Police may resort to taking DNA samples from villagers in Llanfairpwll, depending on the results of forensic tests at the bungalow.

And a wider screening programme may be deployed, but no decision has yet been made.

Police are still in contact with Suffolk police investigating the similar death of Joan Albert, 79, at her home in Capel St Mary, near Ipswich.

North Wales Police described the attack on Mrs Leyshon as "callous and brutal" and both women had been stabbed repeatedly - but the Suffolk team said no link had been identified.

Mrs Leyshon was last heard from on the Saturday afternoon before her death, when she spoke to a friend in Birkenhead, Merseyside, on the phone.

Anyone with information can call Crimewatch on 0500 600 600 or the police incident room on 01492 518383

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Sue Charles reports
"Police turned to the programme to see if an appeal would help in the hunt for Mabel Leyshon's killer."
BBC Wales' Joanna Warlow reports
"She may have been a victim of a ritualistic killing."
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