England

Tracey Mertens: Fresh appeal over 1994 petrol attack murder

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Media captionTracey Mertens was killed in Cheshire in 1994

Detectives trying to solve the murder of a woman who was set on fire and left to die in a churchyard 25 years ago have made a fresh appeal for help.

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

She suffered 95% burns and died 12 hours later.

Officers believe two men were responsible for the killing and a £30,000 reward still stands.

The mother-of-two, of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, had travelled to Birmingham the previous day to collect a benefits book from her former home in Cattells Grove, Nechells.

Cheshire 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, she answered the door and was confronted by two men, police said.

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

A member of the public came to her aid after the attack and she was taken to hospital.

Police said she was able to tell detectives "vital" information before she died.

Det Insp Kate Tomlinson said Ms Mertens had been "so brave" and told detectives "as much as she could before she died".

But she said a series of appeals over the years had failed to provide a breakthrough.

"Therefore, as Tracey's family prepares to spend another Christmas day without her, I would personally appeal to anyone who has any information about Tracey's death to get in touch," she said.

"Even the smallest amount of information can be crucial when piecing together a case."

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