21 years on - family of Karen Hales still waiting for answers in Ipswich murder case

Karen Hales with her daughter Emily

Karen Hales with her daughter Emily - Credit: Archant

Day after tortuous day Karen Hales’ family have had to live with shadow cast by her unsolved murder for more than two decades.

Police approaching the house in which Karen Hales was murdered

Police approaching the house in which Karen Hales was murdered

Today is the 21st anniversary of the 21-year-old’s death at her home in Lavenham Road, Ipswich.

Miss Hales’ body was discovered in her kitchen at around 4.40pm on Sunday, Novermber 21, 1993. She had been stabbed numerous times and an attempt had been made to set her alight.

Miss Hales’ murder – which took place in front of her 18-month-old daughter Emily – shocked and repulsed the town in equal measure.

The fact that no-one was ever brought to justice only serves to deepen the pain felt by her parents Graham and Geraldine, Emily and Miss Hales’ sisters Angela and Jacqui.

This despite a huge manhunt by police, an ongoing open investigation, national television appeals, rewards, and heart-wrenching pleas from her family.

Although they recognise their hopes are slim Miss Hales’ relatives continue to seek a breakthrough in the case.

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Her mother Geraldine said: “We have lived with the torment of Karen’s murder for 21 years.

“We still feel the terrible loss of Karen and want answers.

“If anyone has information, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, which could help find who killed Karen we would ask them to get in touch with police.”

Suffolk detectives have also asked people who might have crucial information to search their consciences.

Advances in technology linked to the increasing number of historic murders which are now being solved years later give them encouragement.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Smith from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team said: “Despite the fact that 21 years have now passed since Karen Hales was brutally murdered, I would stress that we will not give up trying to find her killer.

“Periodically we review our unsolved cases to see if new information or advances in technology and forensic science can provide opportunities to progress these investigations.

“We were encouraged by the fact that we received 12 calls in response to the 20-year anniversary appeal last year.

“Some of the information received was similar to calls made previously but we also received fresh information which has involved our utilising our resources to actively pursue lines of enquiry.

“We are keeping Karen’s family informed of our progress as we go forward and continue to appeal to anyone who has information to make contact with us.

“Someone close to Karen’s killer, a friend or relative, must have noticed a change in their behaviour after the event.

“This is a sickening crime not least because it was committed in the presence of Karen’s 18-month-old daughter.

“If you have any information that for whatever reason you have not provided previously please make contact with us. We need the public’s help to solve this crime and to try to bring closure for Karen’s family”

If you can help the inquiry telephone the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major investigation Team on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Karen Hales

Karen Hales was with her daughter, Emily, when she was killed in Lavenham Road, Ipswich.

The 21-year-old was murdered between 3.50pm and 4.40pm on November 21, 1993.

An attempt was then made to set Miss Hales’ body alight.

Emily was left unharmed

Miss Hales’ fiancé Peter Ruffles had left the couple’s home at 3.50pm to go to work.

Miss Hales’ body was discovered by her father Graham at 4.40pm.

Two Laser 7 knives were said to be missing from her home following her death.

Two men were arrested during the murder inquiry on different days in January 1994.

No-one was ever charged.