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John Wallace, leading policeman in 1968 Valerie Osmond murder case in Dover has died

The funeral of a police chief who investigated one of Dover's most notorious unsolved murders takes place next week.

It is at Barham Crematorium from 9.20am on Tuesday.

John Wallace, of Studdal, died earlier this month aged 87 after suffering from dementia and a number of falls.

John Wallace as a police chief.Picture courtesy of Stephen Rebbeck
John Wallace as a police chief.Picture courtesy of Stephen Rebbeck

Mr Wallace and his colleagues probed the case of Valerie Osmond who vanished from her home in Temple Ewell in February 1968.

Her stabbed body was discovered in Dover's underground water reservoir at Guston on August 25, 1970.

It had been bound to a concrete post by wire, which later rusted through, leading it to float to the top.

It was found when an engineer lifted a cover.

Mrs Osmond was a a 33-year-old mother-of-five and her fully clothed body was still wearing a wedding ring.

The scene was a million gallon reservoir close to the Duke of York's Royal Military School.

Police, joined by soldiers, combed the area to find the murder weapon and other clues.

Mr Wallace was by then a Detective Chief Inspector but he and generations of colleagues after him were never able to bring the killer to justice.

The Mercury broke the news of the body's find on its August 27, 1970 edition
The Mercury broke the news of the body's find on its August 27, 1970 edition

Former Mercury reporter Graham Tutthill was a journalist in Dover at the time of the case.

Mr Tutthill said: "John was an excellent police officer who led a first class team at Dover

"He investigated several high profile cases including the murder of Valerie Osmond and he was keen to solve the case.

"But that success eluded him.

He was one of the old school police officers and he will be missed."

Mr Wallace, in charge of the then Channel Ports CID was second in command in the murder hunt, assisting Det Supt Harold Blackburn.

Mr Tutthill also said of the Osmond murder: "It was a big talking point in the town and at the start it was a missing person case.

Graham Tutthill: "John was an excellent police officer."
Graham Tutthill: "John was an excellent police officer."

"As time went on, when she was still not found, the feeling grew that this was not going to be a happy ending.

"Every time a body was found we thought it was her."

Mr Wallace also investigated the killing of a landlord in his pub, the Diamond Hotel in Dover, in 1979.

The victim's wife was later acquitted of his murder and by coincidence Mr Wallace took over running the premises in March 1980.

He was a policeman from 1954 to 1980, starting in Shropshire an also working in Maidstone, Chatham and Rochester.

He had moved away from Dover during the 1970s but returned by 1976, becoming a Superintendent.

John Wallace died on Thursday, September 13, at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

He leaves a widow, Christine, who turned 83 three days after he died.

He also had three daughters, Susan Graham, Maureen Rebbeck and Sharon Kent,10 grandchildren and 15 grandchildren.

The date of the funeral is to be confirmed.

A Kent Police spokesman said of the Osmond murder: "While the death is no longer being actively investigated, no case is ever truly closed and can be re-examined should any new evidence come to light."

Anyone with information about should call officers 01634 884010

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