Police Establish DNA Link Between Murder Victims 32 Years After Their Death

LAWFUEL – Detectives have established a DNA link between two murder victims, 32 years after their deaths.

Officers are now reinvestigating the 1975 murders of Eve Stratford in Leyton, E10, and Lynne Weedon in Hounslow after determining that the same DNA was found on both victims.

No-one has ever been charged with either murder.

To recap:

Eve Stratford died of neck injuries on 18/3/75, aged 22. She was last seen by witnesses walking near her home in Lyndhurst Drive, Leyton, E10, at approx 15:58. It was a snowy day and she appeared to be walking alone. At 16:30 an occupant in another flat at the converted house in Lyndhurst Drive heard the voices of a man and a woman in conversation. From their recollection, the conversation did not sound in any manner heated or confrontational. A short while later the witness recalls hearing a loud thud noise coming from Eve’s first-floor flat. Her body was discovered by her boyfriend at 17:25 in the bedroom.

Eve, who worked as a bunny girl, had a nylon stocking tied round one ankle and a scarf round her hands. Her neck had been cut 8-12 times. The post mortem examination held at Walthamstow mortuary gave cause of death as knife wounds to the throat. There was no sign of forced entry to the flat and no weapon was ever recovered.

A recent forensic examination of clothing recovered from the body provided a DNA profile.
On 3/9/75 shortly after 23:00 16-year-old schoolgirl Lynne Weedon was raped and murdered near her home in Hounslow.

Lynne had been on her way home after an evening out with friends. Detectives believe that she was followed on foot from the Great Western Road (A4) into an alleyway called The Short Hedges where she was hit with a blunt instrument and thrown over a fence into the grounds of an electricity sub-station. She was then raped before the suspect left the scene.

Lynne was discovered by a local school caretaker whose house overlooked the sub-station. Despite the horrific nature of her injuries, she was still alive when police and ambulance arrived at the scene.

However, she never regained consciousness and died at West Middlesex Hospital a week later on 10/9/75. The cause of death was a single blow to the head – her skull has been smashed with a heavy blunt instrument, which was never recovered.

In 2004 officers from the Met’s Murder Review Group conducted a review of Lynne’s case. It was following this review that further scientific work was undertaken and a DNA profile discovered. Checks then found a match to Eve’s murder.

Officer in charge of the investigation, DCI Andy Mortimer, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command at Belgravia, said: “Advances in forensic science mean that we are able to re-look at certain older cases with the very real possibility that some progress can be made that would not have been possible previously.

“As a result we now have a DNA link between the murders of Eve and Lynne, who was just 16 at the time of her death. We believe the killer could have confided in someone over the years about what happened or might even have bragged about the murders. They have kept a dark secret for the last 30 years and I’m sure they would have felt the need to share this burden with someone. We appeal to anyone who feels that they might have some information, however seemingly unimportant, to come forward.

“It is also possible that the killer knew his victims – this seems more likely in Eve’s case due to the circumstances of her death. There were no signs of forced entry and Eve had a huge circle of friends and acquaintances. In particular I would appeal to anyone who has information about any relationships that Eve may have been involved in at the time.

“We also think that whoever was responsible had a knowledge of the Hounslow area. The killer probably knew the alleyway and the sub-station which provided the ideal environment in which to carry out such an horrendous crime without being seen or heard very easily.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 0207 3217228 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A detailed review of both cases is due to be featured on BBC Crimewatch on Weds 26/9/07.

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