Diane Jones - 40th anniversary of unsolved murder case
This weekend will mark 40 years since the last time a 35-year-old woman from north Essex was seen alive.
On the evening of the 23 July 1983, Coggeshall couple Diane Jones and her husband – a local GP - went for a drink at one of the public houses in the village, the Woolpack Inn in Church Street, where they were seen by several witnesses.
They left at approximately 11pm to drive the short distance to their home – a farmhouse in Colchester Road, near to the junction with the A120. Diane’s husband claimed he last saw her at the front gate to their house after she got out of the car, while he parked up and was dealing with their dog. This was the last time Diane was seen alive.
Diane was not reported missing until nine days later, at which point Essex Police commenced a missing person investigation.
On 22 October 1983 - three months after Diane’s disappearance - her body was discovered some 30 miles away in Suffolk, in a copse near to the A1093 in Martlesham.
A post-mortem examination determined that she had sustained a fractured skull and as a result Suffolk Constabulary and Essex Police commenced a joint murder inquiry.
Detectives undertook extensive enquiries and a man was arrested as part of the investigation, but was ultimately released without charge.
The crime has been subject to a review over the past three years by the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Unsolved Case Team. Opportunities around forensic exhibits have been explored, several new leads have been followed-up and new witnesses have been interviewed. Enquiries have also been undertaken in France and around a potential murder weapon.
Much of this work was focused on the original suspect in the case, however he has since died and this now limits the scope of the investigation. Despite this, the team are continuing to pursue leads and will exhaust enquiries for as long as they are able to.
Andy Guy, the Major Crime Review and Unsolved Case Team Manager, said: “We had been making some positive progress in the case of Diane’s murder and were unearthing new information, even after all this time.
“The death of the suspect in this inquiry means it is unlikely we will be able to progress much further now, as we are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with this crime.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to reach the evidential threshold required for a prosecution for murder on two separate occasions.
“This case will remain with our team. Several people have spoken to us recently who had not felt able to do so before, but we would still like to hear from anyone who believes they have information about the incident.”
Anyone who believes they may have information which could assist with the investigation, should contact the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Crime Review and Unsolved Case Team on 01953 423819 or by emailing: [email protected]