Emily's pain at mum's murder 16 years on

November 21, 1993, is a date forever etched in the hearts of the family of murder victim Karen Hales.

IPSWICH: November 21, 1993, is a date forever etched in the hearts of the family of murder victim Karen Hales.

Today the 21-year-old's daughter Emily - who was with her mother when she was stabbed to death - spoke for the first time about how much she loves and misses her mum.

The 17-year-old also said she still clings to the shred of hope that Miss Hales' killer will be caught one day despite tomorrow being the 16th anniversary of her murder.

Miss Hales died at their Lavenham Road home when Emily was 18-months-old. The murderer then tried to set Miss Hales' body alight.

However, her father Graham discovered her before any further damage could be done.

Emily, who lives with her grandparents in Barham, said: “I think about my mum every day and it is particularly hard on the anniversary of her death.

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“I love her and wish she was here. Despite the fact that I didn't know her it has not stopped me loving her and cherishing her memory.

“I still live in hope that someone will be caught. If anyone knows something about her murder then please help, because I have been without a mum for so many years and it's horrible.

“It hurts so much that I can't explain it.”

The trauma of growing up without her mother's love and guidance has also left its mark.

Emily said: “It's been very hard because I have not had that mother and daughter relationship. I don't like walking past mothers with their daughters because that's something I have not got.

“I find birthdays and Christmas very upsetting as it is a time for families.

“It's nice to have my nan and granddad to turn to. I don't know what I would do without them.”

Emily is having to find a way to confront the past on her own terms, while trying to move on with her life.

She currently works as a trainee hairdresser in Ipswich and says: “I hope my mum would be proud of me.”

Suffolk Constabulary stresses that despite the passing of time, the Karen Hales' case remains open and any new leads will be rigorously investigated.

Detective Superintendent Andy Henwood, head of the force's major investigation team, said: “It is one of those cases which we are constantly looking at and reviewing with a view to any positive leads we can follow. The case remains open and we will investigate any new lines of inquiry.

“I would like to think if the perpetrator is there to find, we will find him.”

Anyone with information which could help catch the killer should telephone Suffolk Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Do you have a message of support for Emily? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Investigation into murder of Karen Hales

Sunday, November 21, 1993: Karen Hales' fianc�, Peter Ruffles, left the couple's home in Lavenham Road at 3.50pm to go to work. Between 3.50pm and 4.40pm, Karen was stabbed to death and her body set alight. Her father, Graham, discovered her body at 4.40pm.

Friday, November 25, 1993: Officers revealed Miss Hales could have been killed with two Laser 7 knives that were missing from her home.

January 5, 1994: A man in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of murder.

January 7, 1994: The man was released without charge.

January 11, 1994: Police questioned a 30-year-old but released him the following day.

February 9, 1994: Miss Hales' funeral was held at St Mary and St Peter Church in Barham - the village where she grew up.

June 20, 1994: Police closed the incident room set up to investigate the murder, but pledged to continue the hunt for the killer.

November 17, 1997: The first criminal profile of the killer was released by police, indicating that Karen probably knew her attacker.

November 21, 2002: The Evening Star revealed that a small amount of vomit found on Miss Hales' body could be DNA-tested.

March 24, 2004: After testing, the vomit revealed only a partial profile of Miss Hales' DNA.

November 24, 2005: A �50,000 appeal is launched by the Star and local businessmen for information leading to the conviction of Karen's killer.

November 21, 2007: Karen's parents reissue their appeal for information about their daughter's murder.