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Pupils help in murder probe

PUBLISHED: 16:02 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

PRIMARY school children may hold the key to solving the murder of Suffolk pensioner, Joan Albert.

Police will today spend a third day at Capel St Mary CEVP primary school interviewing members of staff, from teachers to caretakers and classroom assistants, in the hope of picking up on "gossip" that might lead them to the pensioner's killer.

PRIMARY school children may hold the key to solving the murder of Suffolk pensioner, Joan Albert.

Police will today spend a third day at Capel St Mary CEVP primary school interviewing members of staff, from teachers to caretakers and classroom assistants, in the hope of picking up on "gossip" that might lead them to the pensioner's killer.

Deputy head Graham Cleaver, said that officers were interested in what staff themselves had to say and also information the adults may have picked up from children at the school.

"The police call it gossip. They are looking for small pieces of information that might fit together with other pieces of information and lead them down a particular line of inquiry," he said.

"They are asking us what is being said locally. They are asking us what the community is saying and as far as we are concerned our community is the children."

Officers have been at the school for about three hours each afternoon and staff have been warned that the investigation could continue into tomorrow.

Head teacher Nicola Sirett, has given up her office for police use, allowing interviews to be conducted individually and in complete privacy.

"Obviously we are happy to do anything we can to help the police inquiry," added Mr Cleaver. "Like everybody else we would like to see some conclusion to this matter."

Children at the school have been shielded from the brunt of the aftershock that followed discovery of the pensioner's body on December 16 and playground discussion had been fairly limited, he said.

"Christmas was the main thing on their minds at the time," said Mr Cleaver. "Also Mrs Albert was not a part of the school community in that way. If it had been somebody closer to the school it would have been very different."

Members of staff who live in the village are not being interviewed at this stage as they would already have been spoken to during earlier exhaustive inquiries in Capel St Mary.

Police would still like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area between 9pm on December 15 and 9am on December 16.

The 79-year-old died as a result of multiple stab wounds.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 01473 613777 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.

The business community in Capel together with The Evening Star are offering a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

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