Crimewatch plea to help catch Una’s killer

Una Crown murder featured on BBC Crime Watch
Una Crown murder featured on BBC Crime Watch

mewatch reconstruction of the murder of Wisbech pensioner Una Crown has prompted a number of interesting calls say detectives investigating the horrific crime .

Monday night’s programme heard from 86-year-old Mrs Crown’s niece and nephew, John and Judy Payne and also showed her last-known movements.

Mr Payne discovered Mrs Crown’s badly burned body lying face down in the hallway of her Magazine Lane bungalow on the morning of Sunday January 13.

Mr Payne, who had gone to pick-up Mrs Crown for Sunday lunch, told the programme: “I opened the front door, pushed it open and there was Una lying face down on the floor. The smell from the house was terrible, a burning smell, the body was all burned, her clothing was burned and I noticed as well there was blood on the carpet.”

Both he and his wife described their horror at the crime, which has shocked the community.

Mrs Payne said: “I can’t imagine what she went through, I really cannot, it must have horrendous. The fear of what she felt as she took her last breath. How much did she feel.

“It absolutely haunts me. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do it. A puff of wind would blow aunty over she was so tiny, she would not have stood a chance. I find it very, very hard to come to terms with it all, I shall never come to terms with it, it is heart breaking.”

It was the first time the full horror of Mrs Crown’s murder has been made public, and investigating officer DI David Grierson told presenter Kirsty Young they were still hunting the murder weapon, which he described as a long-bladed kitchen knife about 25cms long.

Mrs Crown was repeatedly stabbed in the chest, with wounds puncturing her heart and lungs. She had wounds on her arms and hand, suggesting she tried to fight her attacker.

The weapon is not thought to have come from Mrs Crown’s home, which meant the killer, who probably returned home smelling of smoke, took it with them.

DI Grierson said it is more than likely Mrs Crown, who was security conscious and always kept the door locked, opened the door to someone she knew.

He also said she was probably killed between 5pm and 10pm, as she had taken a call from a neighbour at 5pm on Saturday and she was still in her day clothes and would normally have gone to bed at around 10pm and her bed had not been slept in.

DI Grierson said £40 cash, which Mrs Crown had got during a shopping trip to Tesco on Friday, together with the gold wedding ring she had worn for over 60 years were both missing. But the house had not been ransacked.

It is thought the killer tried to set fire to the bungalow in a bid to destroy evidence, but the fire did not spread although the house would have been smoke filled and Mrs Crown’s body was burned.

Yesterday DI Grierson said: “We received a number of interesting calls following the reconstruction which we will be following up over the next few days. However, I would continue to urge anyone with any information about Una Crown’s murder to call police.”

A £10,000 reward has been put up by the charity Crimestoppers for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Mrs Crown’s killer. Anyone with any information should call the Major Crime Unit on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.