Profile of Vicky murder hunt chief

PUBLISHED: 18:57 20 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

FROM the outset, Roy Lambert insisted that solving the murder of teenager Vicky Hall was not going to be easy.

Without a description of a man seen at the scene, a car number, certain cause of death, or any forensic evidence, it was a jigsaw with many vital pieces missing.

FROM the outset, Roy Lambert insisted that solving the murder of teenager Vicky Hall was not going to be easy.

Without a description of a man seen at the scene, a car number, certain cause of death, or any forensic evidence, it was a jigsaw with many vital pieces missing.

But he was determined to get the culprit – and was sure that the huge amount of

evidence gathered would reveal the killer.

Cool and calm, he led his team from the front, sure that the strategy of elimination through meticulously sifting through the information, checking and cross-checking, would succeed.

Despite the enormous amount of

pressure on him, Det Supt Lambert knew that this painstaking process was the way Operation Avon – the codename for the murder investigation – would find out exactly what happened to Vicky on September 19, 1999.

He never speculated on what might have happened, but carefully collated the facts, keeping an open mind.

During the investigation, many times he said the time the inquiry was taking was not an issue – he was prepared for a long-haul and lot of old fashioned police work, as well as the use of new forensic


"We will carry on until we get this

person and find out exactly what happened to Vicky," he said.

"We are determined to leave no stone unturned and we are using every skill and technique that is available. We will find out what has happened, but I don't know when that is going to be and it doesn't

matter as long as we get there at the end of the day. It is not a race."

There is no doubt that Det Supt Lambert was the right man for the job.

A highly-experienced officer, he had been involved in solving many high-

profile crimes, including armed robbery, murder, drug peddling, and a bombing campaign, during his 30 years working for Suffolk Constabulary and the South-East Regional Crime Squad.

His previous cases included working on those of Orestes Babouris, known as Dino, The Gun Boy in 1979; the Leoni Keating murder; the Christopher Nugent murder; the contract killing by James Dowsett; the Gippeswyk Park rape in Ipswich and the unsolved murder of Doris Shelley in Martlesham.

He joined Suffolk police as a cadet from school in 1968 and in 1970, at the age of 19, first walked the beat as a uniformed bobby in Felixstowe and later in Brandon.

He moved to CID in 1975 as a Detective Constable, based in Lowestoft and Beccles, and was soon building a

reputation for himself as a hard-working and committed officer.

Four years later his reward was a

secondment to the Regional Crime Squad, based at Harlow, targeting organised crime and international drug dealers around the country and abroad – a marvellous career opportunity and a fresh new challenge.

In March 1981, then Det Sgt Lambert, aged 30, he was on an operation in the Wisbech area when and he and other detectives confronted three criminals, one of which was armed with a sawn-off


The armed man shot at DS Lambert and another detective, both of whom were unarmed and only around 15 ft away. The gunman ran off but the two officers caught him.

DS Lambert was later presented with the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct and was praised for his "very

gallant action in the line of duty".

DS Lambert said at the time: "I am proud of what has happened, but as far as I am concerned we all work as a team. I did not feel frightened – it doesn't dawn on you what happened until afterwards."

He returned to duties in Suffolk in 1982 as a detective sergeant on the drug squad at force headquarters at Martlesham, and then at Ipswich.

The next year he was promoted again to inspector and went back into uniform at Bury St Edmunds for two years before rejoining CID, responsible for Mildenhall and Newmarket areas, before being posted to Ipswich again in 1988. In 1992, he was promoted to detective chief inspector in charge of operations and the Drugs Squad at force HQ.

In 1995 though his great experience was called upon again as he was once more seconded to the South East Regional Crime Squad (now National Crime Squad) as Branch Commander of the Norwich and Mildenhall offices.

During his second spell on the squad — this time four years – he was involved in the capture of one of Britain's most

dangerous criminals, the fanatical urban

terrorist Barry Horne.

Animal rights campaigner Horne carried out a terrifying nationwide firebombing campaign for the Animal Liberation Front, including causing £3million damage to shops on the Isle of Wight, with no regard to the carnage and loss of life it could have caused.

The former Liverpool dustman was caught red-handed in Bristol in July 1996 by Det Ch Insp Lambert and his team of 50 officers who had shadowed the ruthless bomber 24 hours a day for six weeks

during Operation Medlar.

Det Ch Insp Lambert said Horne – who was later sentenced to 18 years' jail and died recently in prison while on hunger strike – was an expert in explosives and adept at disguising himself.

"He had this knack of making himself look completely different. One minute he would be wearing one outfit – the next he would be totally unrecognisable and

wearing a hat with a pony tail," he said.

He returned to force headquarters in August 1999 as Detective Superintendent Lambert and one month later found

himself working on the county's biggest ever murder inquiry. During the past two years, he has investigated five murders in Suffolk.

n More background revelations – see tomorrow's Evening Star.

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