Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, has re-iterated his call for anyone with information about the suspected murders 20 years ago of three local women to come forward.
Last year Mr Coppinger secured a special grant from the Home Office to fund the investigation into suspected murders of Donna Keogh, 17, Vicky Glass, 22, and Rachel Wilson, 19, between 1998 and 2002.
The investigation team has received funding for its first year and it can potentially receive £3.7 million per year however this depends on successful applications every financial year. The funding ensures that there should be no impact on day-to-day policing and that no money from the police precept would be used.
Mr Coppinger said: "Operationally this is a matter for the Chief Constable. My role was to gain the funding to finance the investigation and I'm delighted the Home Office has seen the validity of this case and agreed to the funding.
"I cannot imagine the distress the family and friends of these women must have been through over the years. It is very important for their sake that they get justice and that no stone is left unturned in finding out what has happened and bringing to justice those responsible. The fact that those responsible may still be at large makes it very important for the general public as well that they are caught."
Some media have speculated that the investigation may uncover evidence of historic child abuse and possible inadequacies in the original investigation.
Mr Coppinger said: "The investigation is entirely a matter for the police, I'm sure they will follow the evidence wherever it leads and whatever is uncovered will be dealt with appropriately.
"My thoughts are with the victims and with their family and friends, it is right that we leave no stone unturned in our efforts to bring those responsible to justice.
"No-one should ever feel they can get away with murder and this is proof that the police will never give up. There may well be a person or persons still out there who are responsible for the deaths of these three young women. Who knows what they might be capable of in the future? It is important that they are brought to justice, not just for the families but also the public."
Mr Coppinger urged anyone with information to come forward.
"It may be that originally people with information did not come forward out of fear or for other reasons. They may now feel differently. I would urge anyone with any information, no matter how insignificant they feel it is, to please make contact with the police. This can be done by calling Cleveland Police via 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or the website www.crimestoppers-uk.org"
Posted on Tuesday 9th October 2018