Karen's killer still not found

PUBLISHED: 19:38 20 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

AS one Suffolk family comes to terms with the tragic loss of their daughter and the end of a murder trial ordeal another is having to cope with a heartache anniversary.

AS one Suffolk family comes to terms with the tragic loss of their daughter and the end of a murder trial ordeal another is having to cope with a heartache anniversary.

For today marks the eighth anniversary of the murder of Ipswich mum Karen Hales … and the killer still hasn't been found.

Her parents Graham and Geraldine, whose lives been devastated by their daughter's death, have a common link with the parents of murdered Trimley teenager Vicky Hall as both are still hoping that justice can be done and that their daughters' killers can be found.

Twenty-one-year-old Karen was stabbed to death and her body set on fire at her home in Lavenham Road on November 21, 1993.

Today Karen's grieving family, which has been ripped apart and resulted in Mr and Mrs Hales separating, gave a strong message to the person responsible: "Just give yourself up."

Years on they are still struggling to come to terms with their daughter's death which is all the more sickening because it was thought to have been carried out in front of her 18-month-old daughter, Emily.

The young mum's life was cruelly cut short leaving the family with a string of unanswered questions.

One lasting, poignant memory her father Graham has at his home in Kirby Rise, Barham, is a photograph of his daughter, beaming down at him from a picture on his wall.

The 56-year-old found his daughter's body on her kitchen floor and the image of that terrible day still haunts him.

"This time of year I think more about it.

"I think about it every night when I go to bed. I just don't think the killer holds any remorse. I can't understand anyone can do that and live with themselves."

His wife Geraldine, who now lives in Claydon, clings to the hope that the killer will give themselves up.

"It has totally destroyed our lives," she said.

"But you have to get by, don't you? Life does go on as the saying goes. But Karen never leaves my mind. We just keep hoping that one day we will have answers."

Karen's daughter, Emily, who is now aged nine still misses her mum, who was cruelly snatched from her.

"Emily is a happy, lovely little girl," said 56-year-old Mrs Hales.

"She's full of beans just like her mum was. She's full of energy, like her mum is in that respect.

"She is settled but misses her mum. She remembers her mum from us talking about her. But she was 18 months when it happened."

They referred to Karen as bubbly and "full of life."

Next year she would have been enjoying her 30th birthday had she lived.

"It doesn't seem like eight years ago when it happened," said Mrs Hales.

"It has gone awfully quick. The day is still in my mind.

"To me Karen was just a lovely girl living life with her little girl in a new home and getting on with every day. For someone to destroy her life and destroy ours I can see no reason, no answer. There are a lot of unanswered questions.

"It happened Sunday late afternoon. It was cold, dark and snowing. Most people were indoors. But someone knows something, or must have said something to someone.

"It has destroyed our family. We are never going to get Karen back, but justice needs to be done. We need to have some answers.

"If the killer is found and goes to prison, they will be living a life which is something Karen doesn't have."

Anyone with any information about Karen's murder are asked to contact Suffolk Police immediately on 01473- 613500, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

N Karen's sisters talk about how they are coping with the death of their loved one. See tomorrow's Evening Star.

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