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Murder police extend probe

PUBLISHED: 13:48 13 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

CAB drivers and people in Essex could hold the key to solving the murder of frail Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert, police revealed today.

Detectives hunting the killer of the 79-year-old who was stabbed to death in her Capel St Mary home are appealing for taxi drivers from Suffolk and Essex who were in the village on the night of Saturday, December 15, to contact them.

CAB drivers and people in Essex could hold the key to solving the murder of frail Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert, police revealed today.

Detectives hunting the killer of the 79-year-old who was stabbed to death in her Capel St Mary home are appealing for taxi drivers from Suffolk and Essex who were in the village on the night of Saturday, December 15, to contact them.

Mrs Albert's body was discovered in the hallway of her Boydlands home where she lived alone at around 10am the next day by friends. Her body was peppered with stab wounds.

Police revealed today that clues to the killer's identity could lie just over the border in Essex and want line dancers from the county who were in the village that night for a function to get in touch.

Detective Inspector Harold Hayward said: "We have made several appeals for those people attending the Jimeta Line Dancing Club, held at the Capel Village Hall on that Saturday night, to contact us. Some of them have.

"However, of the 80 or more people who were at the dance that night only about half have been in touch. As Capel St Mary is so near to the county border, we believe it likely that a number of those who attended the dance could have come from Essex.

"We think it is possible that some of the people who attended the dance could have ordered a cab to take them home. I would additionally like to appeal to all taxi firms or mini cab drivers, in both Suffolk and Essex, to check their records for that night and to contact the incident room if they were in Capel.

"Any of these people could have seen something and not realised how important it could be to the investigation.

"We are gradually developing a picture of who was out and about in Capel that night."

Det Insp Hayward reaffirmed the police's commitment to catch the widow's murderer.

"We will catch Joan Albert's killer through methodical attention to detail, by checking and cross-checking every single piece of information presented to us. What may seem to be an irrelevant detail to a witness could prove to be the key to the inquiry."

Murder squad detectives working from an incident room at Suffolk Police's Martlesham HQ have so far received more than 500 calls offering information and generating more than 1,500 lines of inquiry. More than 377 statements have been taken.

Det Insp Hayward said: "We have received a great deal of support from the local community, the general public and the media and we are dealing with a huge volume of information.

"However we still need to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area of the Boydlands between 9pm on Saturday, December 15, and 9am on Sunday, December 16, last year.

A six-day-old appeal to identify a white pick up truck seen parked near the church hall in Capel at 4.50am on Sunday, December 16, has generated more than a dozen calls from members of the public but the vehicle's driver has not yet been identified and detectives have repeated their appeal for that person to get in touch.

Anyone with information about Mrs Albert's death should contact the murder incident room on 01473 613777.

The Evening Star and Capel businesses have offered a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the pensioner's death.

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