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Police launch fresh appeal over murder

PUBLISHED: 11:56 28 December 2001 | UPDATED: 15:22 03 March 2010

THE last person known to have spoken to Suffolk murder victim Joan Albert chatted to the pensioner on the phone just 12 hours before her body was found with multiple stab wounds in her hallway, police revealed today.

THE last person known to have spoken to Suffolk murder victim Joan Albert chatted to the pensioner on the phone just 12 hours before her body was found with multiple stab wounds in her hallway, police revealed today.

Detectives piecing together the widow's movements on the last day of her life now know she was alive shortly before 10pm on Saturday, December 15, when she spoke to a friend from her Capel St Mary home.

Former hairdresser Mrs Albert, who was 79-years-old, was found stabbed to death in her nightclothes nine days before Christmas on December 16.

There were signs of a forced entry to the back of her house. Police believe the frail widow, who lived alone in Boydlands, may have disturbed a burglar.

It is now known that Mrs Albert was seen at the Capel St Mary shopping precinct during the late morning of Saturday, December 15. Friends from the area visited her shortly after 6pm that evening, arranging to see her the next day. The couple telephoned her soon after 9pm later that night.

The last person known to have spoken to the pensioner was another friend who phoned her some time between 9.30pm and 10pm.

Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, who is leading the investigation, said: "It may be, as the investigation progresses, we fill in more of the gaps surrounding Mrs Albert's last movements.

"But the last known telephone contact with her prior to 10pm on Saturday night means that our appeal remains relevant. We want to hear from people who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area of the Boydlands between 9pm on Saturday, December 15, and 9am on Sunday, December 16, to call the incident room."

A team of around 20 officers has been drafted in to work on the murder investigation.

Scenes-of-crime officers have finished their examination of Mrs Albert's detached two-storey home but house-to-house inquiries continue.

More than 150 people contacted a dedicated murder room hotline in the days between the discovery of her body and Christmas Eve, but only two calls were received over the Christmas period, police spokesman Steve Henry said.

Detectives had also contacted around 40 of the 80 members of the Jimeta Line Dancing Club which had been using the village hall near Mrs Albert's home on the night of her killing. Police believe club members could have seen or heard something that may be of vital importance to the murder inquiry and have appealed for everyone there on the night of December 15 to contact them.

Mr Henry said: "We would like to thank all the people who have helped so far and there has been a lot of support from the local community, but we still need more people to come forward."

Mrs Albert's body, which had suffered multiple stab wounds, was found by neighbours at around 10am on December 16.

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

Anyone with information about her murder can either call the murder incident room on 01473 613777 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.

n Robert Beaumont – page 24


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