Tracey Mertens: Appeal over Cheshire petrol murder 20 years on

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Media captionNo-one has been arrested over the death of Tracey Mertens who was set alight in a Cheshire churchyard 20 years ago

Police in Cheshire have renewed their appeal for help in finding two men who doused a woman in petrol and set her alight 20 years ago.

Tracey Mertens, 31, from Rochdale, met a "violent and horrific death" at Christ Church in Eaton near Congleton on 23 December 1994, said police.

She sustained 95% burns to her body and died 12 hours later.

A £30,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible still stands, police said.


The mother-of-two, who was living in Rochdale, had travelled to Birmingham on 22 December to collect personal belongings from her former home in Cattells Grove, Nechells.

Police believe she intended to return the same day but instead ended up staying overnight at her sister-in-law′s and visited her former home the next morning.

Image caption Tracey Mertens was found at Christ Church in Eaton

Shortly before midday the following day, she answered the door and was confronted by two men, described as black, who spoke with Jamaican accents, police said.

Police believe she was abducted and bundled into the back of a yellow Ford Escort parked outside before being driven to Eaton churchyard.

A member of the public came to her aid after she was attacked.

She was taken to hospital and was able to tell detectives what had happened to her.

Renewing an appeal for witnesses to get in touch, Det Insp Gary McIntyre said: "Tracey met a violent and horrific death at the hands of her killers.

"She was so brave and told detectives as much as she could before she died.

"That information was vital for the investigation team at the time and numerous lines of enquiry were pursued.

"I do believe that there are still other people out there who may have witnessed what happened and I would appeal to them to come forward."

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