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Detective's plea to help complete profile of tragic murdered Ipswich mum

PUBLISHED: 05:30 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:10 21 November 2019

Family photo of Karen Hales with her daughter, Emily  Piture: FAMILY PHOTO

Family photo of Karen Hales with her daughter, Emily Piture: FAMILY PHOTO

Archant

Detectives have not given up hope of finding the killer of Ipswich mother Karen Hales, despite the 'horrendous crime' remaining unsolved for 26 years.

Karen Hales' family with Deputy Superintendent Andy Smith of Suffolk police in November 2018    Picture: RACHEL EDGEKaren Hales' family with Deputy Superintendent Andy Smith of Suffolk police in November 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Police said they continue to pursue a number of lines of enquiry from 18 communications received in the year since the 25th anniversary of Karen's murder.

The unsolved case team wants to complete a picture of Karen's movements, including places she frequented and people she met, before her death at the age of 21.

Karen Hales was murdered in November 1993  Picture: FAMILY PHOTOKaren Hales was murdered in November 1993 Picture: FAMILY PHOTO

Karen's body was set alight after she was stabbed to death in front of her baby daughter, Emily, at their Lavenham Road home on November 21, 1993.

Shortly before 4.40pm, about an hour after Karen's partner left for work, Karen's parents called at the house and found their daughter's body in the kitchen.

Ipswich newsagent John Beecroft, of Chantry News, putting up an appeal poster in November 1993  Picture: ARCHANTIpswich newsagent John Beecroft, of Chantry News, putting up an appeal poster in November 1993 Picture: ARCHANT

Detective Superintendent Andy Smith said there remained a possibility that other people had information to assist the inquiry.

"My appeal to them is to make contact and help us solve this horrendous crime," he added.

Karen's parents follow her coffin for her burial at Barham Church, in February 1994  Picture: ARCHANTKaren's parents follow her coffin for her burial at Barham Church, in February 1994 Picture: ARCHANT

"I would like to hear from people who knew her in whatever form, whether they were friends, colleagues or other acquaintances.

"Although I retain a completely open mind as to who is responsible, I think there is a strong possibility that Karen's attacker was known to her, and that is why it is so important for us to know everything about her."

Angela Hales (Karen's sister) and Peter Ruffles (Karen's boyfriend) at a press conference in November 1993  Picture: ARCHANTAngela Hales (Karen's sister) and Peter Ruffles (Karen's boyfriend) at a press conference in November 1993 Picture: ARCHANT

Despite widespread media attention and a £50,000 reward, shop assistant Karen's killer has never been caught - although two people were arrested and released without charge.

DS Smith called Karen's murder "truly devastating" for her entire family, adding: "If there is someone out there who can help us, but is reluctant to do so, I would like them to think about a couple of things in particular that might help change their mind.

Two knives similar to those used in the murder  Picture: ARCHANTTwo knives similar to those used in the murder Picture: ARCHANT

"Please think about that baby girl, left alone in the house where her mum had been stabbed to death and set alight, and who was lucky to survive the fire.

"Please think about the parents who discovered their daughter's body and rescued their granddaughter from the fire.

The scene of the discovery of Karen's body in Lavenham Road  Picture: ARCHANTThe scene of the discovery of Karen's body in Lavenham Road Picture: ARCHANT

"If you think you can help, then please call us."

Contact the unsolved case team on 01953 423819, or email unsolvedcasereviews@norfolk.pnn.police.uk. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or at crimestoppers-uk.org.

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