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1978: Police hunt Bridgewater killers

Police have launched a massive manhunt for the killers of a young paperboy.

Carl Bridgewater, 13, was shot in the head at close range yesterday afternoon at an isolated farmhouse near Stourbridge in Staffordshire.

More than 50 detectives are searching nearby fields for clues. It is believed Carl disturbed burglars at the house and they carried out the shooting.

The elderly couple who lived at the house were out for the day and the body was discovered by a friend of the family at 1730 BST, less than an hour after he had been killed.

Silenced

Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Stewart, who is heading the inquiry, said the shocking murder of such a young boy seemed completely unnecessary.

"Every police officer on this inquiry is appalled by the viciousness of this unmerciful killing.

"It's possible, however, that Carl had to be silenced because he recognised someone," he said.

The farmhouse was one of the last calls on the paper-round the 13-year-old had been doing for only two months.

The owners of Yew Tree Farm - cousins Mary Poole and Fred Jones - were disabled so Carl used to let himself into the house through the back door and leave their newspaper on a chair.

It was then he disturbed the burglars who dragged him into the sitting room and shot him.

Staffordshire Police say they wish to trace the owners of a blue estate car seen near the house at about the time of the murder.

In Context
Four men were convicted of the murder of Carl Bridgewater and jailed for life in 1979.

Michael Hickey, Vincent Hickey, and Jimmy Robinson were in prison for 18 years before their convictions were overturned.

The fourth, Patrick Molloy, died in prison in 1981.

In July 1997 the Appeal Court ruled the "Bridgewater Four" did not have a fair trial because Staffordshire Police had fabricated evidence to persuade Mr Molloy confess.

The court added that evidence remained about Vincent Hickey's involvement in the murder on which a "jury could convict", but said he should go free because his original trial was unfair.

Carl's killer remains at large.


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