Essex

No Crimestoppers reward for James Fairweather tip-off woman

Michelle Sadler Image copyright Michelle Sadler/Facebook
Image caption Michelle Sadler said she now realises she had spoken to James Fairweather the week before she rang the police

A hairdresser whose tip-off led to a Ripper-obsessed double murderer being caught will not get a £20,000 reward because she called police.

Michelle Sadler rang Essex Police after she spotted James Fairweather hiding in bushes in Colchester in May 2015.

As first reported in the Colchester Gazette, Crimestoppers said rewards were only given to people who ring its number rather than the police.

Fairweather, 17, was given two life sentences in April for the murders.

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Mrs Sadler, whose actions are expected to be formally recognised by Essex Police at a later date, said she had not sought a reward.

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The hairdresser recognised Fairweather after police issued a description of his jacket

The teenager was found guilty of stabbing James Attfield and Nahid Almanea to death in Colchester in 2014, when he was 15.

On 29 May 2015, Mrs Sadler was walking her dog when she saw him hiding in bushes near the same spot he had attacked his second victim.

Fairweather, who was wearing latex gloves and carrying a knife, was hunting for a third victim at the time.

She said: "For some reason he decided to jump from one side of the bush to the other.

"I recognised the jacket police said they were looking for and so I rang 101."

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Saudi student Nahid Almanea and father-of-four James Attfield were stabbed to death within a few months of each other in 2014

Mrs Sadler said she had not applied for the reward and it was a reporter at the newspaper who had told her she was not eligible to receive one.

She now believes she may have encountered Fairweather on the Tuesday before he was arrested when she was alone walking her dog in a field.

"He bent down and touched my dog and asked how old he was," Mrs Sadler said.

"He did not have his glasses on but I now believe that was him."

A Crimestoppers spokesman said: "Our rewards do come with the condition that we will only pay in relation to information given directly through our anonymous service.

"This is something that we always make clear in our press releases."

Mrs Sadler said: "I didn't know initially he was a killer - the police got that image of the jacket out there and I recognised it.

"So I never did it for the reward, although it would be nice."

Assistant Chief Constable of Essex Police Steve Worron said: "The entire force is grateful for Michelle Sadler's public spiritedness in calling us to report James Fairweather's suspicious behaviour.

"She has already been thanked verbally by my team on behalf of the town of Colchester and we are looking to record our gratitude formally and in person in the future."

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