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TV appeal brings new leads in 1987 murder cases

Wendy Knell (above) and Caroline Pierce (below) were both battered and strangled to death
Wendy Knell (above) and Caroline Pierce (below) were both battered and strangled to death

DETECTIVES are sifting through dozens of names given to them by the public in their hunt for the killer of two young women.

Det Ch Insp Anne Brittain, who is leading the latest investigation into the murders of Caroline Pierce and Wendy Knell in Tunbridge Wells 20 years ago, said the response to an appeal on a BBC Crimewatch UK programme had been very encouraging.

"We have had over 40 calls and each will be looked at in detail," she said. "Most of the calls were putting forward names that may or may not be involved in our investigation."

Police, who believe the two murders are linked, said advances in forensic science had led to the discovery of a full DNA profile which could belong to the killer.

Det Ch Insp Brittain said the DNA was found at Miss Knell's bedsit in Guildford Road where she was murdered on Tuesday, June 23, 1987. She had been sexually assaulted and battered to death.

Former Det Supt Dave Stevens, who led the original investigation, has come out of retirement to help the small team of officers working on the case.

Det Ch Insp Brttain added: "It's difficult to contact witnesses on an investigation that's 20-years-old and that's why we are focusing on the DNA profile that we have so that we can implicate or eliminate people."

Caroline Pierce, 20, who lived in a bedsit in Grosvenor Park, was last seen at about midnight on November 24, 1987, when she was dropped off by a taxi at her home.

Miss Pierce was attacked outside her home. She too was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered.

Her body was found 40 miles away by a farm worker in a field near St Mary in the Marsh, Romney Marsh, on December 15 that year.

Det Ch Insp Brittain said: "We believe that one person could be responsible for both these murders. Whoever killed these two young women had local knowledge and more than likely had connections with Tunbridge Wells and Romney Marsh."

Anyone with information should ring the incident room on 01622 654850.

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