DNA found on Karen's clothes

HUGE advances in forensic science have revealed DNA, in vomit found on the clothes of an Ipswich mum murdered ten years ago.Initial investigations by police failed to uncover any clues in a tiny sample of vomit discovered on Karen Hales, after her murder shocked Suffolk back in 1993.

By Tracey Sparling

HUGE advances in forensic science have revealed DNA, in vomit found on the clothes of an Ipswich mum murdered ten years ago.

Initial investigations by police failed to uncover any clues in a tiny sample of vomit discovered on Karen Hales, after her murder shocked Suffolk back in 1993.

But as the years have gone by, new techniques have been developed which can glean vital clues to link killers to the scene of their crime.


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The Evening Star called for the sample to be re-examined in December, and offered to pay the £1,000 test fee.

Suffolk Police said they were reexamining the case and just a week later detectives sent the sample – which had been locked away for years – away for analysis.

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Today we can reveal the sample has now been tested and produced a positive result. Contained in the tiny amount of vomit, forensic scientists discovered a trace of DNA.

It could have led to the identity of the last person to see the mother-of-one alive.

Hopes soared among detectives anxious to nail the culprit at last, but it turned out that the DNA matched Karen's own.

Police said today that the sample will now be preserved for future analysis, in case technology moves on again in future, to such a degree that more sophisticated tests prove possible.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said today: "Further forensic testing of vomit found on the clothing of murder victim Karen Hales has been completed – but, unfortunately, has not moved the enquiry forward.

"The sample of vomit, which underwent DNA testing during the original investigation with no result, was re-submitted by Suffolk Constabulary for further analysis following advances in DNA technology.

"This analysis did reveal a partial DNA profile of Karen – but no other profiles were obtained.

"At this stage, it cannot be ruled out that the DNA detected could have come from traces of Karen's blood, which may have been absorbed in the sample at the time of her murder.

"Karen's family have been informed of this development. The case remains open and Suffolk Constabulary will continue to follow up any leads and exploit any further advances in forensic technology in the search for Karen's killer."

Karen's sister Jacqui Double had said she was delighted that forensic evidence from the murder scene was to be looked at again – and called the testing 'a victory in itself'.

Unfortunately, advances in technology have not yet answered the questions members of Karen's family still have.

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The Star and Crimestoppers are each offering a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

Karen Hales, 21, was found slayed on November 21, 1993.

Her burnt body was found on the kitchen floor of her Lavenham Road home by her father Graham.

She had been stabbed to death and set on fire.

The murder is thought to have been carried out in front of her 18-month-old daughter Emily.

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