Police reopen Vicky Hall murder investigation as new lead emerges after 20 years
PUBLISHED: 09:06 19 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:06 19 September 2019
Police have thrown open a 20-year-old cold case murder investigation after new information came to light.
Vicky Hall's death sparked one of the largest investigations ever undertaken by Suffolk police.
The 17-year-old's killing frustrated detectives for two decades - but new information, reported to the cold case team by at least two new witnesses, has been deemed significant enough to reopen a live murder inquiry.
At this stage, no new arrests have been made.
Police said it was too early to make links to other solved or unsolved crimes, but that the new information did not relate to anyone or anything previously concerned in proceedings.
Suffolk's major investigation team will now take over and retrace the entire case.
The news was revealed on the 20th anniversary of the Trimley teenager's disappearance, which was followed five days later by the discovery of her body in Creeting St Peter.
Police also shared previously unreleased details of clothing worn by Vicky on the night she vanished - and of other distinctive possessions, including a personalised house key fob, a lipstick and a hair slide, which investigators hope will prick the memory, or the conscience of someone who knows information about her abduction and murder.
Meanwhile, Vicky's parents said her killer had destroyed their lives, but that they were confident detectives would now pursue the case to the end.
Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Millar would not divulge details of the new information, but said it would form the main line of inquiry pursued by the major investigation team.
She said the information was not previously known to police, but was significant enough to consider a comprehensive review.
"We'll be looking at everything in the round, with a completely new investigation team, 20 years on," she said.
"It has given us renewed hope that we can get justice for Victoria and her family.
"We have never forgotten Victoria Hall, and the person responsible for her murder has lived with their guilt for 20 years.
"We have reviewed material and the investigation is now live.
"In 1999, we released images of a black dress with a frilly trim around the hem, a smart, light brown jacket and black open-toe, size-five sandals. The sandals may have been lined with Sellotape to keep the innersoles in.
"We know she had other possessions with her - none of which have been found - including a black, possibly nylon purse with a zipper, a house key and fob with 'Vicky' on the top and 'Victoria' on the side, and possibly a Rimmel lipstick, which we think was a 'Zorro' colour.
"There was also a hair slide, made of wood, with a piece of wood through the slide.
"We're urging people to think back and see if they can recall these items.
"I'd urge anyone who called us at the time to think back. Is there anything more you can now tell us? Relationships have changed; things have moved on. If you didn't come forward, please do now. It's never too late."
Vicky was killed two weeks before her 18th birthday as she embarked on her second year of A-levels in English, business studies and sociology at Orwell High School.
Parents Graham and Lorinda described her as an intelligent, hard working, fun loving teenager.
Mr Hall, 65, said: "Others' memories fade, but we think about her every day. This is always a tough two weeks, with the anniversary and her birthday.
"We wonder what she would have achieved and what she would have done with her life. A person took that away from us.
"Someone knows something and, perhaps, will think they can't put up with it any longer."
Mrs Hall, 63, added: "I would have liked to have seen her married with children, but that's been taken away from us."
Mr Hall called his daughter's death a major trauma for everyone concerned, including her killer, who has to live with the memory of depositing her body in a ditch, 25 miles from her family home in Faulkeners Way, Trimley St Mary.
"I can't imagine anyone wouldn't have nightmares about making that journey," he said.
"It has to hurt them."
Mrs Hall added: "That person has put us through this. You have destroyed out lives; not only our daughter's, and every close family member and friend."
Mr and Mrs Hall said the reopening of the case had come as a complete surprise, but added: "We're very confident they will pursue it to the end this time."
A timeline of events surrounding the case
- Sunday, September 19, 1999: Vicky Hall is last seen alive at 2.30am on the corner of Faulkeners Way and Trimley High Road after saying goodbye to best friend, Gemma Algar. Residents reported hearing screams and a car with a noisy exhaust drive off at speed around this time.
- Friday, September 24, 1999: Vicky's naked body is found at 7.30pm in a ditch 25 miles away in Creeting St Peter, by local dog walker Jim Armour.
- Thursday, September 30, 1999: Post mortem examination results fail to establish how the 17-year-old died, only showing that she suffered "some degree of asphyxiation".
- Saturday, November 13, 1999: Hundreds attend a public memorial and thanksgiving service for Vicky's life at the twin Trimley churches.
- Thursday, May 11, 2000: Police arrest Adrian Bradshaw, of Trimley St Mary, on suspicion of murder. His car is taken away for forensic examination. He is later released.
- Monday, December 18, 2000: 440 days after the start of the inquiry, Mr Bradshaw is arrested for the second time on suspicion of murder.
- Monday, November 19, 2001: After 10 months in custody and a two-week trial at Norwich Crown Court, Adrian Bradshaw is found not guilty and walks free. The case had hinged on tiny particles of soil found in his car and which prosecutors alleged came from where Vicky's body was found.
- Wednesday, August 4, 2004: The Victoria Hall Memorial Pavilion is opened in Trimley St Mary following a fundraising campaign in the community.
-September 2019: Police reveal the case is now a live murder investigation after new information comes to light.
Anyone with information should contact the major investigation team on 0800 0961233 or 01473 613513, quoting Operation Avon.
Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.