Suffolk

Police review 1993 murder of Martlesham's Doris Shelley

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Media captionDoris Shelley: Police to review elderly woman's murder in 1993

Police investigating the unsolved murder of an 82-year-old woman who was brutally attacked in her home 25 years ago are to review hundreds of pieces of potential evidence.

Doris Shelley was attacked with a blunt instrument and kicked and punched at her bungalow in Martlesham, Suffolk.

She was found by a neighbour on 11 February 1993 and died 11 days later.

Police believe somebody knew the identity of the person who killed the "frail and vulnerable old lady".

The fatal assault happened just over 18 months after widow Mrs Shelley was the victim of a violent robbery at her home.

Police said £12,637 was stolen from her bungalow on that occasion and during the second incident the offender was "looking for valuables to take".

Image caption Mrs Shelley was found cowering in the kitchen of her bungalow where she lived alone

The original investigation saw 70 officers working on the case, a £10,000 reward for information and a Crimewatch appeal but despite several arrests no-one was caught.

Andy Guy, major crime review team manager for Norfolk and Suffolk Police, said: "She was a vulnerable old lady, she was 82 years old, she was living alone, had previously been a victim of a robbery and a significant amount of money was taken.

"Is that linked to the second offence? Maybe."

Image caption Andy Guy said police were trying to enhance what they knew from 25 years ago

Police said they were reviewing the 397 exhibits taken during the original investigation.

These include household objects which might have been touched by the offender, Mrs Shelley's clothing and items taken from people under arrest.

A 'Churchillian recluse'

It was to former Martlesham policeman Frank Ryder's door that Doris Shelley came when she was first attacked.

The animal lover had been locked in the bathroom and had climbed out of the window.

He continued to do welfare checks after that incident but, although still living in the Martlesham police house, had been posted out to Felixstowe when she was fatally attacked.

Mr Ryder described Mrs Shelley, who had been widowed in her 20s, as "fiercely independent" with an "indomitable spirit".

"She was almost Churchillian, 'I've lost my husband, I live alone, I'm not going to let it beat me and I can do it without anybody's help'," he said.

Mr Guy said they were trying to enhance the intelligence gathered 25 years ago.

"Science has moved on and we're now able to take advantage of things that weren't available in 1993," he said.

"We're looking at all those exhibits and seeing if there's any potential to bring to justice whoever was responsible for Doris's murder."

Image caption Police working on the original investigation in 1993

Lines of inquiry included linking the attack to an assault on a postmistress in nearby Eyke the previous year, but police said the two were not linked forensically.

A red car, possibly a Ford Sierra, was also spotted in the vicinity, police said.

Mrs Shelley's bungalow was later demolished and the land sold. The money went to the World Wildlife Fund, police said.

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