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Police reveal details of murder weapon

PUBLISHED: 15:37 07 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:08 03 March 2010

A LONG-bladed kitchen from Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert's kitchen was used to murder her, police confirmed today.

Mrs Albert, 79, of Boydlands, Capel St Mary, died from multiple stab wounds, and forensic tests now show the knife - recovered from the kitchen at the house - was used to attack her.

A LONG-bladed kitchen from Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert's kitchen was used to murder her, police confirmed today.

Mrs Albert, 79, of Boydlands, Capel St Mary, died from multiple stab wounds, and forensic tests now show the knife – recovered from the kitchen at the house – was used to attack her.

It was one of several items from her home which were taken and examined, during investigations by scenes of crime officers.

Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, who is leading the inquiry, said: "Following forensic tests, police can now confirm that a knife found in the kitchen at the house was used to attack Mrs Albert.

"Further scientific tests will now be carried out on the knife to see if it can help move the enquiry further forward."

He added: "I am almost positive the knife came from the kitchen," but declined to describe it further, or reveal how many times the victim was stabbed.

When asked if Mrs Albert could have picked the knife up for to defend herself, he said: "That's the weapon which was used to kill her. I can't speculate about what happened in the kitchen."

He said officers were still exploring all the avenues they could to obtain evidence, and that included drawing up a personality profile to find out what sort of person the killer could be.

But he admitted: "We have got no direct leads at the moment. I have still got an open mind as to who is responsible for this, and what the motive was for this attack.

"We have lots of information coming in, and we have positive major lines of inquiry.

"This crime happened at night, and we are seeking to eliminate people from our enquiries, who were out and about in the area at the time.

"We will catch this person by cross checking all the information, and from members of the public telling us about their suspicions.

"It is still very early days in an enquiry which could take weeks, if not months."

Three weeks after the murder, officers are still continuing house-to-house enquiries, and checking the house with Mrs Albert's relatives and visitors, to see if anything is missing.

As the Evening Star reveals on pages 20 and 21, Mrs Albert's neighbours remain worried about their own safety, and Det Supt Lambert said: "Naturally some people are concerned. This is a terrible sort of crime and we will find this offender so it doesn't happen again."

He added: "We have lots of officers in Capel. We have upgraded the high-profile policing in the area, and the beat officer is spending most of his time in Capel.

"We are arranging to meet with residents of Boydlands about their concerns, and will attend a parish council meeting to tell the community what we are doing."

But he added: "This sort of offence where a person is attacked in their own homes – as terrible as it is – is rare."

More than 20 officers have been drafted in, to work on the investigation.

So far, the incident room has received about 200 calls from the public offering information, and many young people in the area at the time also came forward to help.

Police today revealed that about 150 of these were made within a week of the enquiry getting underway, since Mrs Albert's body was found in the hallway of her home, at 10am on December 16.

Det Supt Lambert added: "We spoke to 200 people during the anniversary checks.

"It was perhaps inevitable that, during the Christmas and New Year period, the flow of information from the public would slow down.

"Now we are into the New Year, I would ask people to re-focus on this crime and if they have any information – no matter how insignificant they think it is – to call the incident room immediately."

Anyone with information, including more line dancers at an event in the area on the night in question, is asked to contact the incident room on 01473 613777 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

The Evening Star is offering a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mrs Albert's killer.

Half the cash came from the Star, while Capel businesses contributed the rest. They include Capel News, SAFC Services LTD, Mall Wood Insurance Services, Cascade Pools, Lucky Star Chinese takeaway, and an anonymous company.

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