One year on and the killer of a Wisbech pensioner has still not been caught.
As the anniversary of the Una Crown murder comes round this weekend police have issued a renewed appeal for help in catching the brutal killer, who repeatedly stabbed the frail 86-year-old before trying to set fire to her bungalow in Magazine Close in a bid to destroy evidence.
Widow Mrs Crown’s charred body was discovered in the entrance hall of her bungalow on the morning of Sunday January 13 by her nephew John Payne, who had gone to collect her for lunch.
Speaking in April as part of a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction of the killing, which left Wisbech and Fenland as a whole deeply shocked, Mr Payne spoke of his horror.
He said: “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 there was blood on the carpet.”
Her niece speaking on the same programme described how her aunt’s death haunted her.
“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 heartbreaking.”
It was the first time the full brutality of Mrs Crown’s death was made public.
But despite this and other appeals over the past 12 months police are still missing the vital lead which will catch the murderer.
And officers are convinced the answer lies locally.
The murder weapon has never been found. It is described as a long bladed kitchen knife about 25cms long and is not believed to have come from Mrs Una’s home, which meant the killer took it with them.
The killer is also likely to have returned home smelling of smoke.
It is thought Mrs Crown was killed between 5pm and 10pm on Saturday January 12 as she was still in her day clothes and she normally went to bed at around 10pm. Her bed had not been slept in.
Mrs Crown was very security conscious and always kept her door looked and would only open it to someone she knew.
Speaking about this weekend’s anniversary Detective Chief Inspector Jon Hutchinson, who is leading the investigation, said: “This weekend will be exactly a year since Una Crown’s body was discovered in her bungalow in Magazine Lane.
“This is still a very active investigation and we have a dedicated team working on solving this horrific murder of an elderly woman in her own home.
“We are determined to get justice for Mrs Crown and her family and are following up a number of lines of enquiry in order to catch and convict the person responsible.
“However, we still believe the answer to this crime lies in the local community and we need their help.
“I would urge people to think back to this time a year ago, did a friend or loved one come home with blood on them or smelling of smoke? Were they acting strangely around that time? Did they suddenly come into money?
“Any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, could prove crucial to solving this terrible crime and giving some closure to Mrs Crown’s family who are desperate for answers.”
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 information should contact the Major Crime Unit on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.