A brutal murder that remained unsolved for nearly 25 years has been solved – thanks to the work of a specialist West Yorkshire Police team.
Amy Shepherd, who was 86, was murdered in August 1994 at her home in Folly Hall Gardens, Wibsey.
Raymond Kay, 70, of Barker Fold, Halifax was today (Tuesday) found guilty of her murder and given a mandatory life sentence.
This conviction at Bradford Crown Court comes after work by the Force’s ‘Cold Case’ team – set up specifically to look at unsolved murders and serious sexual offences.
The investigation into Ms Shepherd’s death remained open as officers sought to find the person responsible.
The team carried out a number of reviews into the case and in December last year Kay was arrested and then charged with Amy’s murder.
The court heard how the arrest came after advances in forensic techniques used to bring criminals to justice.
Kay’s DNA was found on Amy’s body (a hair on her neck) and a tea towel that was used to strangle her. The hair belonging to Kay that was found on Amy’s neck gave a full DNA profile matching Kay. The chances of this not belonging to him were one in a billion.
Detective Superintendent Chris Gibson led the most recent investigation.
“We never close a case until it is solved and today we have been able to get justice for Amy and closure for her family," he said.
“Kay now has a life sentence ahead of him in which to consider the consequences of his actions. He has been brought to justice thanks to advances in DNA technology and some excellent police work.
“Kay might have thought that he had ‘got away’ with what he did but the advances in DNA techniques mean that we are increasingly able to bring people to justice for their crimes, even if they were committed many years previously.”
Kay will serve a minimum sentence of 17 years before he can be considered for release.
Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire (PCC) said: “This case demonstrates just how crucial it is that we have a team set up specifically to crack historical unsolved murders and serious cases in taking advantage of the forensic and scientific investigation processes now available.
“It’s important that no murder investigation is closed until no stone has been left unturned and justice is done. I am pleased that the investment agreed to fund this crucial unit continues to be vindicated and that their painstaking work has now led to this latest conviction and hopefully some sort of closure for the family of Amy, and my thoughts are with them today.”
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