Shropshire

Hilda Murrell: New claims over her death

Hilda Murrell
Image caption Born in 1906, Hilda Murrell stayed in Shrewsbury all her life

A call is made for a new inquiry into the death of a 78-year-old Shropshire woman.

Anti-nuclear campaigner Hilda Murrell was sexually assaulted and stabbed in 1984.

Shrewsbury labourer Andrew George was convicted of her murder in 2005.

Miss Murrell's nephew Rob Green claims there is new DNA evidence from his aunt's fingernails, which could acquit George.

George, aged 37 in 2005, was handed a life sentence and ordered to serve at least 15 years before he could be considered for parole.

But conspiracy theories which circulated in the period between 1984 and 2005 resurfaced after George's conviction.

A leading human rights lawyer has now called for a fresh police inquiry.

Writing in a national newspaper earlier this week, Michael Mansfield QC claimed the 2005 trial had failed to answer many of the questions surrounding the death of Miss Murrell.

Lone attacker

Mr Mansfield's high-profile cases have included the Birmingham Six appeal, Stephen Lawrence murder, Bloody Sunday inquiry and the Princess Diana inquest.

A book written by Mr Green - a former naval intelligence officer - entitled A Thorn In Their Side - is being relaunched to mark the 28th anniversary of his aunt's death.

In his comments, Mr Mansfield questioned whether the killing was committed by a lone attacker then aged 16 or if it was an operation involving several individuals on behalf of a government agency.

The QC wrote: "The book cannot definitively answer this question, but it raises serious and substantial doubts about the criminal investigations to date.

"The accumulated concerns make an overwhelming argument for these to be reopened by an independent police force unconnected with any previous inquiries, or by an independent commission of inquiry.

"While DNA from the convicted man shows he was in Hilda's house, there are a huge number of other evidential matters that Rob Green has assembled which challenge the manner of this killing.

'No grounds'

"Although many of them are not new, most have not been assembled in an intelligible format until now and some have never been presented in court proceedings."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "The correct procedure to apply for a reinvestigation is to appeal to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

"If anyone thinks there are grounds for a review they have to write to the commission.

"West Mercia Police is not going to reinvestigate this case because we have no grounds to at this time."

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