Letter delay in murder probe

VITAL information into the brutal murder of Joan Albert could have been missed because of a police blunder.Letters sent out to villagers by Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, who is leading the case, asking for information have been received by some people THREE MONTHS after they were supposedly sent out.

By Jessica Nicholls

VITAL information into the brutal murder of Joan Albert could have been missed because of a police blunder.

Letters sent out to villagers by Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, who is leading the case, asking for information have been received by some people THREE MONTHS after they were supposedly sent out.

In March the Evening Star reported that 700 letters had been sent to residents who police had not been able to contact during door to door investigations.


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Signed by DS Lambert, they asked residents to cast their minds back to the night of December 15 and the early hours of December 16, when 79-year-old Joan Albert was brutally murdered in her Boydlands home.

The letter encouraged people to come forward if they were out and about in the village on that night, or had seen or heard anything unusual, whether or not they thought it was of importance.

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Although many residents in the village received the letters a few months ago when they were sent out, other people in the Mill Hill and Windmill Hill areas only received their letters last week

For many, this lack of communication came as a huge shock.

Betty Few from Windmill Hill was stunned when she heard how long ago the letters were supposed to have been sent out.

She said: "I think that is absolutely disgusting.

"People could have been hiding something or could have found out something else by now and this letter might have helped.

"I just can't believe it."

Mrs Few said that villagers were still talking about the horrific murder.

She said: "We still can't believe that something like that could happen here.

"It just seems so strange that someone would take the trouble to cut through the village and through all those alleyways when they could have just picked one of the big houses on the main road and been gone."

Kay and Mike Vince live on Mill Hill and also received their letter just a few days ago.

They were less concerned by the fact and said that they had already spoken to police about one month ago because Mike drives a white van.

A white van had been seen in the village on the night of the murder.

Mrs Vince said: "We spoke to two plain clothes detectives anyway and mentioned that we had not had our letters.

"But the letters have not told us anymore than we did not already know, I think most people would have come forward by now.

"We just thought we lived too far out of the village to have received one."

However the couple were still shocked that the letter could have taken that long.

Residents living at the bottom of Mill Hill in Dales Green and Dales Lane did receive their letters a couple of months ago but were horrified to hear that some may not have got one.

Valerie Bridgman lives in Dales Lane. She said: "I would be very concerned about this.

"All the villagers are still very concerned about the whole situation, it is always in the back of their mind."

A spokesman for Suffolk police admitted that for an unknown reason, some residents in Capel and not been sent letters when the first batch was sent out.

He did not know how many but the Constabulary had taken a better safe than sorry approach and re-sent a number of letters to the Mill Hill and Windmill Hill areas when they heard that some residents had reported not seeing one.

When asked whether the blunder could have jeopardised the investigation he said: "The fact that we did recieve a few calls back in March shows that this method of communicating with people can work.

"That being the case we wanted to be sure that everyone in Capel has received a letter or a call from a police officer - some people might have two letters.

"It could be that someone over the last few weeks has received a letter that has prompted them to get touch, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

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