Shelley Morgan: Police issue fresh appeal in 1980s Bristol murder case

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Her remains were found in woodland off Long Lane, near Backwell, in 1984

Detectives in Bristol are renewing their appeal for information relating to the murder of Shelley Morgan on the 40th anniversary she disappeared.

Police launched a missing person investigation on Monday 11 June 1984 after Shelley, 33, failed to pick her children up from school or return to her home on Dunkerry Road, Bedminster, Bristol.

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Tragically, her remains were found four months later, on Sunday 14 October 1984, in woodland off Long Lane, near Backwell.

A forensic post-mortem examination confirmed she’d suffered multiple stab wounds and while there was no evidence of sexual assault, it’s believed the attack was sexually motivated.

A murder investigation followed, and the case continues to be regularly reviewed but sadly, her killer has never been traced.

Detective Inspector Dave Marchant, of the Major and Statutory Crime Review Team, said: “We will never give up trying to identify the person responsible for Shelley’s murder and for leaving her two young children without their mother.

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“Forty years may have passed but our resolve has not lessened, and we remain committed to providing her family with answers and, if her killer is still alive, to bringing them to justice.

“We know after dropping her children off at school on 11 June 1984 Shelley headed towards Leigh Woods where she planned to take photographs and sketch.

“While we can’t categorically say for certain she made it to Leigh Woods, we’ve unconfirmed sightings of her on a bus traveling towards the area and near Ashton Court.

“We know Shelley was wearing a scarlet-coloured top, a white skirt and marron-coloured tights along with large red circular glasses. And we know she had with her a homemade patchwork bag and her 35mm Olympus OM20 camera.

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“Neither her clothing or her camera have ever been recovered but we remain hopeful someone may yet come across the camera as it’s still popular with collectors.

“If you own an Olympus OM20 camera from the 1980s with the serial number 1032853 please get in touch.”

Speaking five years ago, on the 35th anniversary of Shelley’s disappearance, her sister Hollie Brian said: “Shelley’s death had a profound effect on our family and her loss has been felt ever since.

“For 35 years, I’ve watched the events of Shelley’s life pass by without her, it’s been 35 years of silence in the life she didn’t get to live.

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“I’ve come to believe that people aren’t really dead until the people who love and remember them have passed also. As long as we carry Shelley in our hearts she’ll always be with us but we’re all getting older and the time is going to come when all those doors are closed.

“We beseech you if you know anything about what happened that day back in June of 1984 please come to the police.

“Maybe you were afraid to speak out at the time. Maybe your situation has changed.

“Out of love and respect for my sister we really want to know what happened and be sure the person who killed her will never hurt anybody ever again.”

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DI Marchant added: “It may seem difficult to imagine we can still solve this horrendous forty-year-old crime but with the advancement of forensic science and the passage of time we remain positive.

“Our public appeals are also effective in generating new lines of enquiry and helping us answer previously unanswered questions.

“Five years ago we released images of two postcards which depicted the River Avon in Bristol and St Andrew’s Church, from the direction of Backwell Hill.

“Several members of the public contacted us in response to that appeal and officers were subsequently able to rule out any significance of the postcards to the investigation.

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“Loyalties and relationships change over time and there may be someone who didn’t feel able to speak to us at the time or even five years ago, who may be in a position to do so now.

“We believe the locations Shelley was visiting that day hold the key to her killer’s identity. It’s highly likely her killer was familiar with the Leigh Woods and Backwell areas and could have had links through work or other associations. It’s also more than likely they had access to a vehicle.

“If you have any information, no matter how small or irrelevant you think it might be, please come forward. You could have the missing piece which helps complete this case.”

If you can help please call the Major and Statutory Crime Review Team via the 101 non-emergency number.  

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