Police hunting killer of schoolgirl Kate Bushell, 14, who was murdered as she walked her neighbour’s dog in 1997 receive 40 new pieces of information after fresh appeal
- Kate Bushell, 14, was murdered in Exeter, Devon on November 15, 1997
- She was found in a field near her home in Exwick having had her throat slit
- Devon and Cornwall Police have renewed a public appeal for information
Police investigating the savage murder of a 14 year old schoolgirl 25 years ago, say they have received more than 40 pieces of new information.
Detectives are now working on the new lines of enquiry following their 25th anniversary appeal over the brutal murder of Kate Bushell.
She was killed on Saturday November 15, 1997, as she walked a neighbour’s dog near her family home in Exwick, Exeter, Devon.
Her body was found in a field off Exwick Lane and her throat had been cut. Her father found her body after raising the alarm.
Kate Bushell, 14, was killed on Saturday November 15, 1997, as she walked a neighbour’s dog near her family home in Exwick, Exeter, Devon
The schoolgirl’s body was found dumped in a field near her home. A post-mortem revealed her killer had slit her throat
The schoolgirl had died from a catastrophic injury to her neck caused by a blade at least six inches long.
Devon and Cornwall Police’s major crime team renewed their appeal for information as they hunt the killer of this unsolved murder.
They urged anyone who had previously withheld information to break their silence.
Today, police revealed that ‘so far more than 40 pieces of new information have been received from the UK public’.
Senior investigating officer Rob Back said: ‘The response and interest from the public has been really good so far, with a number of fresh intelligence reports being reviewed by the crime team.
‘However, we are still appealing for that crucial piece of new information.
‘That one piece of critical information may be just what we need.’
Kate’s body was found a short distance from the family’s home in the village of
Police recovered orange fibres from Kate’s body and from this stile
A £20,000 reward has been offered by Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Kate’s killer
A £20,000 reward has been offered by Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Kate’s killer.
Kate’s older brother, Tim, said: ‘There isn’t a day that goes past where my family and I don’t think of her, what life would be like if she hadn’t been taken from us, what she would have achieved, and all the family milestones that we have been unable to include her in.
‘Over the past 25 years thousands of inquiries have been undertaken by the police.
‘They have information that needs clarification, but we are still waiting for the key breakthrough.’
The brutal murder started one of the largest and long running investigations by Devon and Cornwall Police.
At the start of the investigation, some 160 detectives conducted more than 5,000 house-to-house enquiries.
Officers also took more than 5,000 DNA samples from people in the Exwick and Exeter area.
The team made three arrests, but each of the suspects was released without charge having been questioned under caution.
In 2017, the 20th anniversary appeal prompted 10 new lines of enquiry after officers received 204 calls from members of the public.
Detectives have been able to identify the events leading up to Kate’s murder, including witness reports of two unidentified men in blue car.
Forensics experts discovered orange fibres at the crime scene.
On the day she was murdered, Kate left her home on Burrator Drive at 4.30pm to collect her neighbour’s dog, Gemma.
Witnesses last saw Kate at Whitestone Cross twenty minutes later. Officers are also keen to identify a man who was seen running through The Farm HIll / Cornflower Hill area of Exwick.
Given the obscure location of the crime officers believe the suspect is a local
Devon and Cornwall Police’s major crime team renewed their appeal for information as they hunt the killer of this unsolved murder (Pictured: A police officer standing guard at the scene where Kate Bushell’s body was discovered)
Officers are appealing for information about the crime are keen to identify two men who were spotted in the area on the afternoon of the murder
DI Back said: ‘The sightings of these two men are just as important now as they were in 1997. Who are they and why have they never come forward? If you know who they are or if it was you and you were there for a genuine reason then please contact us
DI Back said: ‘The sightings of these two men are just as important now as they were in 1997. Who are they and why have they never come forward? If you know who they are or if it was you and you were there for a genuine reason then please contact us.
‘The man next to the blue vehicle is highly likely to have seen Kate in the lane but has never contacted us despite repeated appeals.’
Detectives believe a small dog, thought to be Gemma, was seen running lose near where Kate’s body was found at 7.30pm.
The orange fibres found Kate’s body and on a nearby country stile have been identified as that used in non-flourescent work wear.
DI Back added: ‘Does anyone remember someone with orange non-florescent clothing who was acting strangely around the time of the murder? If someone does have suspicions, then please give us a name.’
Officers investigating the murder suspect the killer has plenty of local knowledge.
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