Crown Prosecution Service reveals Colin Ash-Smith to face court over murder of teenager Claire Tiltman in Greenhithe 21 years ago
A man has today been charged with murdering teenager Claire Tiltman in Greenhithe 21 years ago.
Colin Ash-Smith, 45, is being prosecuted over her death in an alleyway in 1993 after Crown Prosecution lawyers were handed a file last month by Kent Police following a cold case review.
He will appear at Maidstone Magistrates' Court via video link on Friday, February 28 after being charged early today.
Claire Tiltman was found dead in an alleyway in 1993
Nigel Pilkington, head of the complex casework unit for the Crown Prosecution Service South East, said: "In November 2012, I received a file of evidence from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate relating to the murder of Claire Tiltman on 18 January 1993.
"The investigation by the police has been a lengthy and complex one.
"I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to prosecute Colin Ash-Smith, 45, for the murder of Claire Tiltman..." - Nigel Pilkington, Crown Prosecution Service
Following further investigation, my review of all the evidence in the case has now been completed and I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to prosecute Colin Ash-Smith, 45, for the murder of Claire Tiltman on 18 January 1993 in Greenhithe, Kent.
"Mr Ash-Smith will appear at Maidstone Magistrates' Court on 28 February via video link.
"May I remind all concerned that Colin Ash-Smith has a right to a fair trial.
"It is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.
"For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."
The Greenhithe alleyway where Claire Tiltman was stabbed to death in January 1993
A memorial plaque to Claire Tiltman in London Road, Greenhithe
A memorial walk held last year to mark the 20th anniversary of Claire's death
Claire - known as Tilt to her friends - was stabbed more than 40 times in an alleyway off London Road, Greenhithe, in January 1993.
It was just four days after her 16th birthday and not far from her home in Woodward Terrace.
Her mother Linda died in 2008 and her father Cliff passed away in September last year.
Claire Tiltman's father Cliff died last September
Claire, an only child, had been on her way to visit a friend when she was attacked between 6pm and 6.30pm, a time when many commuters were returning home.
The Dartford Grammar School pupil had hoped to join the fire brigade and regularly visited her local fire station while completing her Duke of Edinburgh award.
The initial police inquiry totalled more than 16,000 pieces of paperwork.
Claire's parents Cliff and Linda lay flowers at the spot where she died a year after her death
Linda and Cliff Tiltman at a police press conference in 1993
Floral tributes to Claire Tiltman in London Road, Greenhithe in 1993
Det Supt Rob Vinson, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate Cold Case Team, said: "Claire Tiltman's unsolved death is one of the longest-running cases for Kent Police and has remained in the forefront of the minds of investigating officers for over two-decades.
"Colin Ash-Smith is now to be brought before a court following our investigations and subsequent consultation with the CPS."
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