Aubrey Ash-Smith, father of Colin Ash-Smith, speaks out after home at Myrtle Place in Stone searched by police
The father of Colin Ash-Smith, one of the main suspects at the time of the death of Claire Tiltman, says he's still in the dark as to why his home was raided.
Yesterday, Aubrey Ash-Smith said he woke up at his caravan in Whitstable to find police had arrived at his door.
Forensics officers at a home during a police search
The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate Cold Case Investigation Team conducted the search as part of their "on-going inquiries into the historic murder of Claire Tiltman".
Mr Ash-Smith said today: “I don’t know why the police are doing all this again. They told me they’re doing the DNA tests again but they did all that years ago.
“All the stuff they took yesterday - books, some 2000AD comics, some of his clothes, school stuff, a Dartford FC scarf - were all taken by the police at the time."
Forensics officers are conducting a search
He continued: "I was still in bed. I heard someone at the door, still in my pyjamas, and then there was half a dozen police.
"They wouldn't tell me what they were there for and about half an hour later they told me. Then they searched the place.
"I've had this caravan for two years and Colin has been away for 18 years so obviously he's never been in it. I don't know what they're trying to find or what they're trying to do after all this time."
Former milkman Colin Ash-Smith was given three life sentences in 1997 for attacks on women, including the stabbing of 22-year-old Charlotte Barnard in October 1995, not far from the alley in London Road where Claire was murdered.
Tilt, as she was known to her friends, was stabbed more than 40 times in an alleyway off London Road, Greenhithe, in 1993.
It was just four days after her 16th birthday and not far from her home in Woodward Terrace - her murder remains unsolved.
Her mum Linda died in 2008 and her father Cliff passed away in September last year without seeing justice done.
But Mr Ash-Smith, who lived in Swanscombe at the time of Claire’s death, says his son is serving his time: “He admitted what he done and he’s been in jail for the last 18 years.
“Back in 1995 they took all this stuff away and about a year later I got it all back.
"Colin has never lived here, he’s never lived in this house. The other room in this house has been a junk room.
“They just took all the stuff they’d given back to me again. We’ve been here since February 1995 and at the time, Colin moved down to Greenhithe with his fiancée
A memorial walk was held to mark the 20th anniversary of Claire's death
Claire's dad Cliff appealed for her killer to be found
Mr Ash-Smith said Colin was driving his wife Diane, a former councillor and mayor of Swanscombe, around delivering leaflets door to door at the time Claire died.
He said of the police: “I think they’ve lost the plot. That’s why they’re going back to Colin or maybe they think this will help stop his parole. I felt like we were being treated like criminals."
For the full interview, see next week's Dartford Messenger.
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