Killers still at large despite forensics progress
Cold case unit appeals for help
From a strangled baby found in a lake to a gangland-style shooting in broad daylight, there have been many horrific killings in Ashford over the years.
But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of cases such as these is that those responsible have never been caught.
In some cases, arrests have been made and suspects charged, but no one has ever been brought to justice.
Over the years, police and relatives have issued fresh appeals for anyone harbouring information to come forward.
In spite of this – as well as advancements in crime detection technology such as DNA profiling – dozens of killers remain at large.
One such unsolved Ashford murder is that of the baby girl found floating in a plastic bag at the edge of Singleton Lake in April 1995.
Named April by police, the young victim had been strangled with a pair of tights and tissue paper stuffed in her mouth when she was discovered by two teenagers more than 20 years ago.
Despite a murder investigation spanning two decades, which has involved exhuming the body in 2011, neither the killer nor the baby’s parents have ever been traced.
Caring residents have been laying flowers and gifts at Baby April’s grave in Bybrook Cemetery, Kennington, since her burial in 1996.
Another horrifying case was A Kent Police spokesman said: “Kent Police has a dedicated Serious Case Review Team under the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate (SCD), which regularly reviews unsolved murders and serious sexual assaults.
“In turn, the SCD Cold Case Unit carries out further inquiries on unsolved cases by using a number of investigative techniques and developments in forensic science.
“Officers in the Cold Case Unit are always keen to hear from anyone who has information about past crimes. that of 74-year-old Albert Bishop, known as Taffy, who was brutally attacked by a man wielding a hammer at his home in Hythe Road, Willesborough, in March 2008.
The pensioner, who worked at a grocery stall that also sold imported cigarettes at the Ashford Market, in Orbital Park, had just returned home from work around midday before he was found seriously injured by his daughter, Sarah, when she came home minutes later.
Mr Bishop was able to tell detectives that his attacker was a white man in his 50s, who stole about £700 of cash from him and left with it in a blue Nike rucksack containing his grandson’s work boots.
“With modern techniques it is often possible to eliminate someone from an investigation quickly and unequivocally.
“In murder cases in particular, there are always family and friends who want answers and officers remain committed to identifying offenders, bringing them to justice and offering closure.”
Anyone with information about any of these unsolved murders can call police on 101 or Kent Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
He suffered serious arm and head injures, was treated at several hospitals, but was subsequently discharged with ongoing medical treatment.
Three months later, he had a fall at home where he fractured his femur and died of his injures.
A Home Office pathologist ruled his death should be treated as murder as it was deemed to have been directly caused by his assault.
Also in 2008, one of the country’s leading aviation archaeologists was brutally murdered in a case that has baffled detectives for nearly seven years.
Andrew Cresswell, known as Andy or Cressy, lived in a mobile home on the Pivington Mill industrial estate near Pluckley, where he ran a cafe.
The 51-year-old’s body was found by workers one morning, and a postmortem revealed he had died from a blow to the head.
Police believe he may have disturbed a burglary and been attacked, but despite the arrests of five men, no one has ever been charged because of a lack of evidence.
As an aviation archaeologist, Mr Cresswell had a specialist knowledge of First World War crash sites.
Poignantly he was found dead on Armistice Day, exactly 90 years after the fighting stopped.
Fifteen years ago, a Pluckley man was murdered in a ganglandstyle killing in broad daylight at Ashford’s Warren Retail Park.
Alan Decabral, 40, was shot dead in front of shoppers as he sat in a car at lunchtime waiting for his son to come out of Halfords.
The killer fired a single shot to the head as he begged for his life.
A young man was seen sprinting from the scene towards the M20, but despite a major manhunt, no one was ever caught.
The case has baffled detectives who have investigated different theories into why Mr Decabral was targeted. He was a key witness in the Stephen Cameron M25 road rage stabbing case, which saw Kenneth Noye sentenced to life.
The grave of Baby April