Danielle Jones murder: Garage search for girl's body

Danielle Jones Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The body of Danielle Jones has never been found

Garages are being searched in an attempt to find the body of a schoolgirl murdered 16 years ago.

Stuart Campbell, 59, an uncle of Danielle Jones, was jailed for life for her abduction and murder in 2002.

Danielle, 15, was last seen at a bus stop near her home in East Tilbury on 18 June 2001. Her body has never been found.

Essex Police were led to the block of garages in Stifford Clays, Thurrock, by information described as "credible".

Image caption Danielle's parents Linda and Tony Jones visiting the scene of the police search on Monday

Campbell, a builder and father of two, was told he would serve at least 20 years of his life sentence for murder. He was also sentenced to 10 years for Danielle's abduction, which he is serving concurrently.

Campbell will be eligible for parole in four years' time.

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Media captionDanielle Jones: Garages searched in a bid to find body
Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Stuart Campbell, who was an uncle by marriage to Danielle, was jailed for life in 2002

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Worron said: "We received information earlier this year that there had been unusual activity in the garage block around the time of Danielle's disappearance."

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Police said they had not "ruled out the possibility that Danielle's body could be buried" there.

Analysis by Claire Sawyer, BBC Essex newsroom editor

Image copyright PA
Image caption Danielle's parents Tony and Linda Jones

I was a junior reporter when Danielle was taken and the trial was one of the first I had covered.

It was a case that had enormous media interest - not just because it involved the murder of a young teenager on her way to school, but because her body had not been found.

My main memory of the court case was seeing her parents, Tony and Linda, sitting attentively listening to the evidence. They were so strong and so dignified throughout.

And then there was Stuart Campbell, who just showed no emotion throughout. He just sat there looking straight forward.

And of course, this was a case which showed just how far technological evidence had come - with mobile phone signals proving where Campbell had been.

More than 1,000 garages were included in a "huge number" of searches that were carried out in 2001 and 2002, according to Mr Worron.

However, the force on Monday confirmed it had received "non-specific information" about one set of garages back in 2001 but no search was carried out.

"We are working to ascertain why these (the Stifford Clays garages) were not searched as part of the original investigation," a police spokesman said.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Danielle Jones was waiting to catch a bus to school when she disappeared

Danielle's parents Linda and Tony Jones said: "We are extremely grateful that the police are following up this information and we know they are determined to do whatever they can to find Danielle.

"We think about Danielle every day and we hope that this latest search may bring us answers to what happened to her 16 years ago."

Essex Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said the case was one of the largest investigated by Essex Police and remained open because Danielle's body had never been found.

"Today's operation follows new credible information being obtained by Essex Police," he added.

"We are all hopeful that this line of inquiry will be successful and help to provide some closure for Danielle's family."

Police identified Campbell as Danielle's killer after phone records showed he had used her mobile in the crucial period after she went missing and that his claim he had been buying bolts at a builders' merchant in Rayleigh when Danielle went missing could not be true.

At the time, the case was England's most expensive homicide investigation costing £1.7m.

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