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Are old murder cases in Cornwall & Devon linked?

Are old murder cases in Cornwall & Devon linked?

Published by Emma Carton at 7:31am 16th October 2018. (Updated at 9:47am 16th October 2018)

Detectives say a link between two historic murder cases in Cornwall and Devon is not being ruled out.

A fresh appeal was launched on Monday, 20 years after Lyn Bryant was stabbed to death on the Roseland.

She was out walking the dog, just like Exeter teenager Kate Bushell who was killed the year before.

Officers carrying out enquiries into both cases say the investigations are running in parallel.

lynda bryant 2
Police investigating the historic murders of a Cornish mum and a Devon schoolgirl say they are not ruling out a possible link

"Two such significant cases in relatively close geographical proximity and time is very unusual and it's not something that we would expect, certainly down here in the Devon and Cornwall area.

"Although those cases are closely looked at together, they're not officially linked.

"They are investigated in parallel because it makes perfectly good investigative sense for one investigation to talk to the other investigation to make sure that significant information is passed between the two.

"We can't say for sure that it's the same man who killed both victims, but we would certainly keep that as a possibility; that's as far as it goes".

Retired Detective Inspector Stuart Ellis

lynda bryant 4
Linda Bryant and Kate Bushell were killed as they walked dogs in isolated areas of Cornwall and Devon

What do we know about Lyn Bryant's murder?

Lyn Bryant was killed on Tuesday 20 October 1998 as she walked the family dog near her home in Ruan High Lanes.

Her body was found in a gateway of a field on an unclassified road between the Methodist Chapel and Treviles Manor.

Lyn had sustained a number of knife wounds in what detectives described as a prolonged attack.

One of the most notable details of the crime is her missing tortoiseshell glasses. They were found on top of the mud in the gateway where Lyn's body was discovered, four months later. The glasses had only been there for a short time and there is no explanation as to how they came to be there.

What do we know about Kate Bushell's murder?

Kate Bushell exeter murder
Lyn Bryant was found stabbed to death near her home on the Roseland the year after the death of Exeter schoolgirl Kate Bushell

Kate was killed on Saturday 15th November 1997 as she walked a neighbour’s dog near her home. Her body was found in a field off Exwick Lane by her father. She had sustained a brutal knife wound to her throat.

Last June, a team of serving and retired detectives and staff, some of whom worked on the 1997 enquiry, began re-examining key evidence in the hope of finally catching her killer.

On the 20th anniversary they launched a major public appeal for people to come forward with critical and previously withheld information that may help to solve the case.

The appeal generated an excellent public response with 204 calls and messages into the incident room identifying 10 new significant lines of enquiry, including the names of potential suspects.

Detectives from the Major Crime Team examined the public messages in detail and reviewed up to 5,000 documents, including an in-depth look at 30 original witness statements.

In April 2018, from the 10 new leads, a number of individuals named by the public had been reviewed in significant detail but were eliminated from the enquiry.

How can the public come forward?

lynda bryant 10
Police investigating the death of Lyn Bryant on the Roseland have opened an incident room for potential leads, 20 years after her death

On Monday, Devon and Cornwall Police opened an incident room for potential leads into the murder of Lyn Bryant on the Roseland.

Crimestoppers is also offering a £10,000 reward for clues that lead to the arrest and conviction of her killer.

You can read more about how to report information here or watch the appeal...

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