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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Murders suspect in UK crime probe
Tent over Joe Kappen's grave in Goytre cemetery
Police had exhumed Mr Kappen's remains in May
South Wales Police are liaising with forces across Europe to see if the man identified as the killer of three young women 29 years ago was responsible for other rapes and murders.

DNA tests have proved that Joe Kappen, who died in 1990 at the age of 49, murdered the teenagers in two separate incidents near his home town of Port Talbot in 1973.

Joe Kappen
Joe Kappen's picture is being circulated

The body of the former nightclub doorman was exhumed on 17 May in order for detectives to confirm their suspicions by taking DNA samples.

Officers are now talking to other forces about possible links to unsolved crimes across the UK, and as far afield as Spain and Gibraltar.

Detective Inspector Paul Bethell, who led the re-investigation of the Llandarcy murders has passed Mr Kappen's details on to Interpol.

He will also be inviting officers from all 43 British forces to a presentation on the case.


We need to speak to other countries including Spain and Gibraltar to see where this man has been

DI Paul Bethell

A senior detective a senior detective from Humberside - one area Mr Kappen is known to have visited as a lorry driver - has already arranged to visit south Wales next week to discuss the case.

South Wales Police are delighted that the Llandarcy result is finally bringing one of their longest-running murder investigations to a close.

The bodies of Geraldine Hughes and Pauline Floyd, both 16, were found at woodland in Llandarcy in September 1973.

Both had been raped and strangled.

Three months earlier the body of Sandra Newton, 16, was found in a ditch at Tonmawr after she had spent a night out in Briton Ferry.

Pauline Floyd
Pauline Floyd: Found murdered

Mr Kappen was amongst 30,000 people interviewed during the original murder hunt, although the investigation floundered due to a lack of evidence.

But modern forensic techniques lead to a breakthrough two years ago, when a DNA profile of the killer was established from samples at the crime scene.

The Home Office granted permission for police to remove Mr Kappen's body from Goytre Cemetery, Port Talbot - a UK first for a murder inquiry.

The results of tests linking the dead suspect with the murders were announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

Geraldine Hughes
Geraldine Hughes: Hitched a lift

DI Bethell said police were circulating Mr Kappen's photograph to UK forces, and also via the Interpol database.

Mr Bethell said it was known Mr Kappen had, at one time, been employed as a delivery driver and had travelled widely.

"We certainly need to link with other forces throughout Britain and internationally," he said.

"We need to speak now to other countries including Spain and Gibraltar to see where this man has been.

"We need to timeline this man - where he has been for 25 years, what areas he has visited, then find these locations and speak to people who might have known him."

Sandra Newton
Sandra Newton was found dead after a night out

But Mr Bethell revealed that Mr Kappen may have had other victims in south Wales.

"There's the murder of Maureen Mulcahy in 1976 - I've spoken to the family, and there's further work to be done there," he said.

Meanwhile South Wales Police have urged local residents not to seek reprisals against the Kappen family, who remain convinced of his innocence.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Nick Palit
"Every police force in England and Wales will be invited to trawl through their records"
See also:

06 Jun 02 | Wales
20 May 02 | Wales
06 Jun 02 | Wales
19 Dec 01 | Wales
29 Oct 01 | Wales
15 Sep 01 | Wales
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