England

Carl Bridgewater case: Murder re-examined by police

Carl Bridgewater
Image caption Thirteen-year-old Carl Bridgewater's murder case remains unsolved

New claims in a TV programme about the murder of Carl Bridgewater nearly 40 years ago are being examined by police.

Staffordshire Police said officers are "considering the content" of the documentary about the 1978 shooting.

Newspaper boy Carl, 13, died after apparently disturbing a burglary at Yew Tree Farm, near Stourbridge.

Questions about the alibi of initial suspect Bert Spencer, raised in the Channel 4 documentary, are also to be examined by the Home Office.

Mr Spencer was a questioned by police at the time, but has always denied killing Carl.

'Disposed of shotgun'

An ex-hospital secretary, who provided Mr Spencer with a "cast-iron" alibi on the day of Carl's killing, told the programme she cannot now prove where he was that day.

In the programme, Mr Spencer's ex-wife Janet also spoke for the first time about how her then husband disposed of a legally-owned shotgun at the time, and how she had come home to find him washing a green jumper which she never saw again.

Mr Spencer denied her claims.

Police went on to charge suspects, who became known as the Bridgewater Four, after they were arrested in connection with an armed robbery in nearby Halesowen.

Patrick Molloy, James Robinson, and cousins Michael and Vincent Hickey had their convictions overturned after 18 years, in 1997, amid concerns about the police evidence.

Image copyright ITN Productions/Channel 4
Image caption Bert Spencer has maintained he did not murder Carl Bridgewater

Months after they were jailed in 1979, Mr Spencer used a shotgun to kill his friend Hubert Wilkes at a farmhouse.

Det Ch Supt Laurie Whitby-Smith said: "Like all unsolved murder cases, Staffordshire Police conducts periodic reviews to ascertain if there is any new evidence available to take cases forward.

"Staffordshire Police is aware of, and has seen, the recent documentary which aired on Channel 4, having been informed by the programme's production company.

"We are now considering the content of the documentary to ascertain whether new information is available beyond what we already know. This process will inform what, if any, action is to be taken in the future."

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites