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CCTV could help Joan murder hunt

PUBLISHED: 21:00 14 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

MURDER squad detectives are scanning CCTV footage from a service station on the A12 in the hunt for the killer of a frail Suffolk widow.

Police are trawling though closed circuit footage from a petrol station on the main link between Ipswich and Colchester to establish exactly who was in Capel St Mary on the night Joan Albert was murdered.

MURDER squad detectives are scanning CCTV footage from a service station on the A12 in the hunt for the killer of a frail Suffolk widow.

Police are trawling though closed circuit footage from a petrol station on the main link between Ipswich and Colchester to establish exactly who was in Capel St Mary on the night Joan Albert was murdered.

The 79-year-old, who lived alone, was found dead in the hallway of her Boydlands home at around 10am on December 16, last year. She had been stabbed repeatedly and was dressed in her nightclothes.

Inquiries suggested that between 300 and 350 people had been out and about in Capel on the night the widow was murdered, Detective Inspector Harold Hayward said.

"We have taken possession of CCTV from the service station and we're in the process of speaking to employees of similar establishments in and around Capel St Mary, including on the A12," he said.

"It's so close to the main A12 we can't dismiss the fact that people who would have been travelling to Ipswich or Colchester may have had reason to stop at Capel or any other location between Capel and Ipswich." Such people should contact police, he said.

Det Insp Hayward said inquiries to date suggested that around 300 to 350 people had visited or returned to the village between the night of Saturday, December 15, and the following morning.

Most of this number had been identified but others mentioned during the investigation had not yet been traced. Det Insp Hayward could not confirm how many people the police had details of but had been unable to identify. He said, however, that that the list included adults, teenagers and the driver of a white pick up truck seen parked near to the church hall at around 4.30am on Sunday, December 16.

"There are people we need to identify and trace definitively," he said, in order for them to be ruled out of inquiries.

Detectives were also eager to trace all those who had attended a function organised by the Jimeta Line Dancing Club at the village hall that Saturday night. Around half the 80 or more people who been at the dance had been in touch with officers but police needed to speak to the rest, Det Insp Hayward said.

The function was advertised in the Southern Country magazine and people may have come from up to 50 miles away, he added.

Det Insp Hayward repeated his appeal for cab drivers who collected or dropped off a fare in Capel on Saturday night/Sunday morning to contact police.

"It's impossible for us to say at this moment how the killer got away. We need to keep an open mind to the possibility of him having called a cab so we are asking cab drivers to come forward if they picked up or dropped anyone off in the Capel area that night."

Anyone with information about Mrs Albert's killing or was in the area on the night in question, should contact the murder inquiry room on 01473 613777.

The Evening Star and Capel businesses have offered a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for her death.

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