Vicky Hall murder case remains open 10 years on

A FORMER detective on the Victoria Hall inquiry has told how her unsolved murder still haunts Trimley St Mary today.

Colin Adwent

A FORMER detective on the Victoria Hall inquiry has told how her unsolved murder still haunts Trimley St Mary today.

Tomorrow it will be 10 years since the 17-year-old vanished from the village near Felixstowe, sparking a massive manhunt and national media headlines.

Her body was found seven days later in Creeting St Peter, near Stowmarket, but her murderer has never been caught.

The investigation into Miss Hall's death remains one of the most prominent open cases still on the files of Suffolk Police.

The heartache borne by her family, mirrors the frustration of Suffolk detectives past and present who still hope that one day her killer will face justice.

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Retired detective sergeant Chris Cushnahan was a key figure on many of Suffolk's high-profile murder investigations over the past 15 years, including Bramford killer Jason Mitchell and the Victoria Hall murder inquiry.

Mr Cushnahan, who lives in the Trimley area, said: “Trimley is a close-knit community and people still talk about it today. People don't forget. The impact is still there 10 years on. A lot of people still talk about it.

“If there's a murder of a young girl anywhere in the country someone in the village always remembers the murder of Victoria Hall.

“If police ever find someone for the murder I think it would certainly bring closure for the family.

“If there is someone out there that has any information, I would urge that person to contact the police.

“I still believe the answer to the case is a local one.”

Although many of the officers on the inquiry were very experienced professionals, the case affected them deeply.

Mr Cushnahan, 57, said: “The inquiry team gave their all - they absolutely gave their all to bring about a result.

“We were very, very disappointed that we were not able to bring the inquiry to a conclusion.

“You are even more devastated when someone has not been brought to justice for the murder.”

Although Mr Cushnahan had retired by the time Steve Wright murdered five Ipswich prostitutes in late 2006, he was drafted in as a civilian to help with the inquiry.

Wright's name also came up in relation to the Victoria Hall investigation, although Mr Cushnahan stressed there is no evidence to suggest the serial killer was involved with her death.

At the time Wright also lived in Trimley.

Mr Cushnahan said: “Steve Wright is on the Victoria Hall database. We had many lines of inquiry, changing by the week. One of the early lines was trying to trace a vehicle that followed a young woman the night before Victoria went missing.”

A partial registration was given to police. All the vehicles in the area which contained the partial registration were located through the police national computer. Wright's was one of them, but he was never questioned.

Mr Cushnahan said: “There was no reason to see him. At the time there were thousands of lines of inquiry. There was no evidence to suggest we should have followed it up.

“The database contained well over 12,000 names and it still remains the biggest inquiry Suffolk police has every conducted. It still surpasses the Steve Wright murders.

“It was a very, very thorough investigation, but with limited evidence to work with it was always going to be very, very difficult.

“No matter what angle we explored we had little in the way of good, hard evidence. We had no scene witnesses and very, very little forensic evidence.”