Felixstowe: Vicky Hall - 15 years on from teen’s murder her family still left seeking answers
- Credit: Archant
For almost every unsolved murder victim’s family it is the unanswered questions which torment the most.
As time passes they somehow learn to endure the pain of losing their father, mother, son, or daughter.
Although thoughts turn to their loved ones on a daily basis, it is the unfathomable circumstances of their deaths which families often struggle to live with.
Victoria Hall’s murder thrust Suffolk into the national media spotlight following her disappearance only a couple of hundred yards from her home in Faulkeners Way, Trimley St Mary, while walking home after a night out in Felixstowe.
Just two weeks short of her 18th birthday, Vicky was snatched in the early hours of September 19, 1999, and murdered.
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The sixth-former was last seen when parting from a friend at the junction of Faulkeners Way, and Trimley High Road, at 2.30am.
Five days later her body was discovered around 25 miles away in a water-filled ditch by a field in Creeting St Peter, near Stowmarket.
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Following a subsequent post mortem it was believed the 17-year-old had been asphyxiated. She had not been sexually assaulted.
Despite a huge manhunt, media appeals and the offer of a reward no one has ever been convicted of Vicky’s murder.
Vicky’s father Graham, 60, mother Lorinda, 58, and younger brother Steven, 30, have had to live with the consequences ever since she went missing and all hope of her being found alive was lost.
Mr Hall said: “Life has obviously never been the same since.
“We did our best to keep life as normal as we could for our son. At the time we had to consider he still had to live his own life.
“Fortunately he’s proved to have grown up to be a very reliable and level-headed young man and he’s managed to have a relatively normal life.”
Mr Hall believes his family are not the only ones who live daily with the consequences of what happened to Vicky.
He believes whoever murdered her, assuming they are still alive, is probably tortured each day by what he did.
“I think his sentence has been that he’s lived for 15 years with this. I always think we are programmed to take the blame for what we do.
“He’s gone to bed every night thinking he’s taken someone’s life. Although he hasn’t served a sentence in prison he’s had to live with it all the time. Every day he must think ‘God I did that’.
“He must have talked to somebody. I can’t believe with a secret of that magnitude he would have kept it to himself. He must have told somebody.
“Perhaps it’s the time for someone to speak up. If anybody knows anything we would want them to say.”
Although Mr Hall retains a shred of hope, he is realistic about the prospects of finding Vicky’s murderer 15 years on.
“I don’t think they will ever find out who it was. I honestly don’t.
“I don’t really have any thoughts about them. I don’t know who did it.
“I think one of the biggest releases for us would be to know who and what happened. They are questions we would really like answered.
“I don’t think we will ever know who, what happened, or what were the circumstances at the time.
“It wasn’t someone who was going round (killing people). It wasn’t a psychopath. It wasn’t a serial killer. It was just a one-off thing that happened. So that person must be normal.
“What made them do what they did? Why did they take the body all that way? I think it’s a very strange situation. I can’t see how he got to the point of going to Creeting St Peter. I don’t understand why.
“We would like to know why it happened.
“It’s a cross to bear to the end. What else can you do? You can’t give up now.”
September is obviously a difficult time of year for the family and with Vicky’s birthday also coming around two weeks after the anniversary of her death it is particularly painful.
Mr Hall said: “It is quite significant in relation to her death as if she had been a month younger we probably would not have let her go out.”
Life could never be the same after Vicky’s murder although her family have learned to live with it, despite reminders of what might have been.
“To lose a child is something that is a shadow over your life. But you go on and 15 years have suddenly gone.
“Victoria grew up with a girl and Lorinda has just been to see her and she’s just had her fourth child.”
Although Vicky’s murder is remembered by the majority of people in the area, there are some who shy away from speaking to the Halls or are too young to recall what happened.
Mr Hall said: “I would say it is like all these big tragedies in life. There are a lot of people who don’t want to talk to us and say the wrong thing.
“Certainly with the younger generations who weren’t born and a lot of people who have moved in and out of the village, people have moved on. Fifteen years is a long while ago and lot of things have happened.”
Mr Hall tries not to dwell on the past.
“I keep things fairly focussed. I don’t think of what might have been. That’s what happened. I can’t change it. Victoria was very, very unlucky. It was so random.
“I probably have a thought about Victoria every day, but you can’t change history. You get used to it. Time does change things.
“You do learn to deal with it and tend to get over this time of year. September isn’t the best of months, certainly for my wife. It’s a sort of relief when you get beyond Victoria’s birthday again.
“I think we have dealt with it fairly well over the years.
“Our family have been fantastic. I can honestly say we wouldn’t have got through without our family, and without Steven and his wife.
“We now have a grandson and like all children they bring great joy to your life.”
The Halls still live in Faulkeners Way. Mr Hall said they have never really considered leaving the area where Vicky was last seen.
Instead they prefer to stay in the home which holds special memories of their daughter growing up.
Mr Hall said: “Why do you leave where she lived for 12 years of her life? Do you start again? Do you move out of the area? It’s a very difficult thing to decide so we stayed here.
“We didn’t want to sell the house and regret it because we hadn’t got the memories.”
Vicky’s parents try to deal with their loss by imagining not that she has gone forever, but that she has moved away.
Mr Hall said: “It’s like she went away and we can’t get to see her.”
Suffolk Constabulary stress the case is still very much open.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Kevin Hayward from its major investigation team, said: “Although this remains an unsolved crime, we routinely review Victoria’s murder and look to exploit any new opportunities in order to identify those responsible.
“Every September marks a poignant passing phase for Victoria’s family and this year is no different.
“For her parents and friends especially, the investigation into her death remains open and we will not stop looking for the person or persons responsible.”
Anyone who has information which could help trace Vicky Hall’s killer even after all this time should telephone Suffolk Constabulary on 101 or Crimestoppers (anonymously) on 0800 555111.