Ipswich/Barham: Torment goes on for family of Karen Hales, whose killer is still at large

IPSWICH/BARHAM: It is 18 years since Karen Hales died and her murderer is still at large.

With no answers to this horrific crime, Karen’s parents Graham and Geraldine Hales have had to live with the torment of not knowing why or who killed their daughter.

Today, on the anniversary of the 21-year-old’s death, her family clings to the hope that one day someone somewhere will be brought to justice.

Mrs Hales, now 66, said: “Karen was bubbly and full of life. She enjoyed life and she lived life to the full. She was doing what any normal 21-year-old did, looking after her little girl in her home and somebody took her away from us.”

Despite a police investigation, numerous appeals, and media interest, Karen’s killer has never been found.

It was November 21 1993, when Mr Hales discovered his daughter’s body at her home in Lavenham Road, Ipswich. She had been stabbed to death. Karen’s 18-month-old daughter Emily was with her mother when she died.

Mr Hales said: “It seems like yesterday. On the Saturday she came into our house, popped her head round the door and said, Hello dad.

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“On the Sunday she was dead. We wonder what she would be like now.”

Mr and Mrs Hales, of Kirby Rise, Barham, said the discovery of her killer so many years after her murder would be a great relief.

Mrs Hales said: “It will be easier once we do know what happened, if we could eventually know why she was killed. I still hope he’ll be found, I haven’t given up but sometimes you wonder if they ever will find him.”

Mr Hales added: “At the beginning the police were so confident they would find her killer and they reassured us they would. But, as the years go by, I don’t know if he will ever be found. The DNA evidence is our only hope.”

At this time of year the couple mark the anniversary by visiting Karen’s grave and laying special flowers before holding a family meal.

The couple are comforted by the support of family and friends, including their daughter’s friend, Chitra Watson, who has written a poem for the 18th anniversary of her murder.

Mr Hales said: “It is a very difficult time of year. The nights are dark and it is dismal.”

Mrs Hales said: “We think of her every day, but you have to get on with life as well. She is always on our minds, but life has to go on. I am convinced that somebody somewhere is covering up for somebody. I would like that person to come forward and put an end to our torment.”

Suffolk Constabulary said the inquiry is continually reviewed by a cold case team and anyone with new information should telephone its major investigation team on 101.

n Do you have a memory of Karen you’d like to share? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk