Victoria Hall murder inquiry – Investigation update | Suffolk Constabulary

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Victoria Hall murder inquiry – Investigation update

Op Avon - Victoria Hall

The investigation into the unsolved murder of a teenage girl from Trimley St Mary is continuing, as the 21st anniversary of her disappearance approaches this weekend. 

Victoria Hall, aged 17, was last seen alive in the early hours of Sunday 19 September 1999, in High Road, Trimley St Mary. 

In September last year, Suffolk Police revealed that the case – known as Operation Avon - was now a live inquiry again and being fully reinvestigated by a new team of detectives, after fresh information had been received that was not previously known.

Victoria left home on the evening of Saturday 18 September 1999 to go for a night out with a friend at the Bandbox nightclub in Bent Hill, Felixstowe, where they remained until around 1am on the morning of Sunday 19 September. 

They then went to get some food at the Bodrum Grill in Undercliff Road West, before beginning the walk back to Trimley St Mary. They parted at around 2.20am near to the junction of High Road and Faulkeners Way. Victoria was just yards away from her home. 

When Victoria’s parents woke-up that morning and discovered that she had not returned home, the police were called and a missing person inquiry commenced. 

Five days later, on Friday 24 September, Victoria’s naked body was found in a ditch beside a field by a dog walker in Creeting Lane, Creeting St Peter, approximately 25 miles away from where she was last seen. None of her clothes or possessions have ever been found. 

Since the investigation became live again last year, the inquiry team have made significant progress and undertaken a huge amount of work. 

90 calls or messages have been received from members of the public following the renewed appeal and many of these have helped piece together information and create new lines of enquiry. 

All forensic opportunities are being exhausted, following a thorough review of the 3,000 exhibits that exist within the investigation. Detectives from the Major Investigation Team have worked closely with experts from the National Crime Agency, who are providing support to the investigation. 

The movements of over 70 individuals on the night in question have already been assessed in great detail, by reviewing a total of over 9,000 statements, documents, messages and reports from the original investigation. 

Officers are also continuing to work through over 1,200 links to people and vehicles and are making a specific appeal to hear from anybody who was either walking or driving in Trimley St Mary, between 2am and 4am on Sunday 19 September 1999, to make contact and provide their details, as this information will help to fill any gaps and greatly assist the inquiry. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, Head of Crime, said: “Despite the passage of 21 years since Victoria was so cruelly torn away from her family, we remain positive and determined to find a breakthrough in this case and to deliver justice for them. 

“When the reinvestigation into the abduction and murder of Victoria was launched last year, a dedicated Operation Avon team was set-up to pursue new lines of enquiry and to identify fresh opportunities from the original investigation. 

“The work undertaken so far has been vast and the team – with the assistance of numerous other colleagues - have made significant inroads. There is still much to do and we remain fully committed to completing this. 

“Officers have remained in contact with Victoria’s family throughout this process, providing them with continued support and keeping them updated as to the progress of the investigation. 

“Everyone was encouraged by the support we received from members of the public last year and we are grateful to all the people who contacted us with information. 

“We still believe there are people out there who will know something very significant about this case, but have still as yet not told us. It is never too late to come forward and we are ready to take their call. 

“We know allegiances can change over the years and someone who may have been compelled to keep a secret to protect another person may no longer feel the same obligation. 

“Any information we are given will be treated with the utmost confidence. Please help us to solve this shocking crime and provide Victoria’s family the answers they deserve.”

Victoria’s clothing and personal belongings that she had about her person the last time she was seen alive have never been found.  

Images of the dress, jacket, shoes and a wooden hair slider that Victoria was wearing the last time she was seen, are again being issued and can be viewed in the gallery below. 

For the first time last year, details about some of Victoria’s personal belongings were disclosed as follows:

- a black oval shaped New Look purse with a zip fastener, containing a house key on a distinctive fob with ‘Vicky’ across the top and ‘Victoria’ down the sides

- a Rimmel lipstick in a black plastic case, the colour of which is believed to have been ‘Zorro’

- the inner soles of one or both of Victoria’s shoes had been fixed with Sellotape.

Also as part of last year’s appeal, CCTV footage was released of individuals at the field in Creeting St Peter where Victoria’s body was found, which was captured during the month following her death. 

A number of the calls received into the inquiry team related to this footage and the information provided has been taken into consideration as part of the ongoing investigation. 

Anyone with information should contact the Major Investigation Team, either via the online portal here: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/3637020112A02-PO1 or by calling 101 and quoting Operation Avon.

Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org 

Previous release | 26 September 2019

Detectives are extremely pleased with the initial response from members of the public, following the renewed appeal into the 20-year-old unsolved murder of a teenage girl from Trimley St Mary, with dozens of calls having been received by the investigation team.

Victoria Hall, aged 17, was last seen alive at around 2.20am on Sunday 19 September 1999, near to the junction of High Road and Faulkeners Way in Trimley St Mary. She was just yards away from home.

Victoria and a friend had spent the night at the Bandbox nightclub in Bent Hill, Felixstowe, leaving at around 1am. They then went get some food at the Bodrum Grill in Undercliff Road West, before beginning the walk home.

When Victoria’s parents woke-up that morning and discovered that she had not returned home, the police were called and a missing person inquiry commenced.

Five days later, on Friday 24 September, Victoria’s naked body was found in a ditch beside a field by a dog walker in Creeting Lane, Creeting St Peter, approximately 25 miles away from where she was last seen. None of her clothes or possessions have ever been found.

Last week, upon the 20th anniversary of Victoria’s disappearance, Suffolk Police revealed that the investigation into her murder – known as Operation Avon - was now a live inquiry again and being fully reinvestigated by a new team of officers, after fresh information had been received that was not previously known.

Detectives also released additional details regarding Victoria’s belongings that she had about her person the last time she was seen alive, along with CCTV footage captured during the month following her death of individuals at the field in Creeting St Peter where her body was found.

Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Millar, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “I have been delighted with the response from members of the public since we revealed that Victoria’s murder was being reinvestigated.

“In the week since we launched the appeal we have received over 50 calls, many of which have provided us with further new lines of enquiry.

“These are now being actively pursued, alongside the other information we had already received, and other evidence we are uncovering as we methodically review all the existing files and material.

“This was a high-profile case at the time and the fact that people are still coming forward with new information after the passage of 20 years, is great news for the investigation and Victoria’s family. 

“We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and urge anyone who may have information and has not yet be in touch, to contact us without further delay.”`

Last week Suffolk Police reissued images of the dress, jacket & shoes that Victoria was wearing the last time she was seen and also a wooden hair slider that had not previously been released. These can all be seen in the gallery below. 

Additionally, detectives revealed further details regarding the belongings Victoria had on her that night, which are as follows:

  • a black oval shaped New Look purse with a zip fastener, containing a house key on a distinctive fob with ‘Vicky’ across the top and ‘Victoria’ down the sides
  • a Rimmel lipstick in a black plastic case, the colour of which is believed to have been ‘Zorro’
  • the inner soles of one or both of Victoria’s shoes had been fixed with Sellotape.

CCTV footage was also issued which had not been previously been released. This was captured at the entrance to the field in Creeting St Peter the month after Victoria’s body was found, during October 1999.

The first clip shows a van stopping at the field entrance, before reversing and then driving forward to the entrance again and stopping, at which point the driver gets out and enters the field, appearing to look around at the ground near the entrance point.  

The second clip shows a group of people with torches going into the field area under the cover of darkness.

Anyone with information should contact the Major Investigation Team, either via our online portal here: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/3637020112A02-PO1 or by calling the Incident Room direct on: 01473 613513 and quoting Operation Avon. 

Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Previous release | 19 September 2019

Op Avon - Victoria Hall

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the disappearance of a 17-year-old girl from Trimley St Mary, as Suffolk Police reveal that the investigation into her murder has been reopened.

Victoria Hall left home on the evening of Saturday 18 September 1999 to go for a night out with a friend at the Bandbox nightclub in Bent Hill, Felixstowe.

The girls left the club at around 1am the following morning, Sunday 19 September, and stopped to get some food at the Bodrum Grill in Undercliff Road West, which is on the roundabout junction with Garrison Lane. 

They then began walking home to Trimley St Mary, parting at around 2.20am on High Road, near to the junction of Faulkeners Way. Victoria was just yards away from home. This was the last time she was seen alive.

When Victoria’s parents woke-up the next morning and discovered that she had not returned home, the police were called and a missing person inquiry commenced.

Five days later, on Friday 24 September, Victoria’s naked body was found in a ditch beside a field by a dog walker in Creeting Lane, Creeting St Peter, approximately 25 miles away from where she was last seen. None of her clothes or possessions have ever been found.

A murder inquiry was then launched under Operation Avon, which at the time was one of the largest investigations ever undertaken by Suffolk Constabulary. Despite this, and after the passage of 20 years, Victoria’s killer has still not been brought to justice.

Operation Avon is a now a live investigation again being run by a new team, after receiving fresh information not previously known in the inquiry and new lines of enquiry are actively being pursued.

Suffolk Police are again issuing images of the dress, jacket & shoes that Victoria was wearing the last time she was seen and also a wooden hair slider that has not previously been released. These can all be seen in the gallery below. 

Additionally, detectives can reveal for the first time further details regarding the belongings Victoria had on her that night, which are as follows:

  • a black oval shaped New Look purse with a zip fastener, containing a house key on a distinctive fob with ‘Vicky’ across the top and ‘Victoria’ down the sides
  • a Rimmel lipstick in a black plastic case, the colour of which was ‘Zorro’
  • the inner soles of one or both of Victoria’s shoes had been fixed with Sellotape.

CCTV footage is also being issued which has not been previously released. This was captured at the entrance to the field in Creeting St Peter the month after Victoria’s body was found, during October 1999.

The first clip shows a van stopping at the field entrance, before reversing and then driving forward to the entrance again and stopping, at which point the driver gets out and enters the field, appearing to look around at the ground near the entrance point.  

The second clip shows a group of people with torches going into the field area under the cover of darkness.

Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Millar, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “Suffolk Police has not given up - and will never give up - on catching the person or persons responsible for Victoria’s murder.

“New information and lines of enquiry that were not previously known to us are being actively pursued by the Major Investigation Team, renewing hope that Victoria’s killer will be caught.

“By reissuing the images of Victoria’s clothing and providing the additional information about some of her other belongings, I am hopeful that this may jog someone’s memory who could have seen them deposited somewhere.

“I am also extremely keen to trace the people in the CCTV images at the field in Creeting St Peter – I would really like to know who they are and what they were doing there.

“If you provided information in the original inquiry, think back and come forward if there is more you can tell us, or if you did not come forward at the time with information you had, now is the time to do so.

“This was an horrific crime committed against a girl who was two weeks away from celebrating her 18th birthday. Victoria’s adult life was just about to begin when she was torn away from her loving family, who have now been without her for a longer time than they had her – no one should have to experience the pain that they have.  

“We now have another opportunity to obtain justice for Victoria and her family. The killer has lived with their guilt for the past 20 years and fresh information could make a significant difference to helping us solve this murder. It is never too late to contact us.”

Anyone with information should contact the Major Investigation Team by calling: 01473 613513, or via our online portal here: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/3637020112A02-PO1

Alternatively, contact the charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111, or via their online form: www.crimestoppers-uk.org