Fresh bid to solve mur­der

Macclesfield Express - - BARLOW’S BRIEF - STU­ART GREER

PO­LICE have re­newed their ap­peal for help in find­ing two men who doused a woman in petrol and set her alight 20 years ago.

Tracey Mertens was snatched from her for­mer home in Birm­ing­ham be­fore be­ing doused in petrol, set alight and left to die in a church­yard in Ea­ton, a vil­lage be­tween Mac­cles­field and Con­gle­ton

e mother-of-two, aged just 31, clung to life for 12 hours be­fore she died on Christ­mas Eve 1994.

Po­lice are mark­ing the an­niver­sary by re­new­ing their ap­peal for in­for­ma­tion which would fi­nally bring her killer to jus­tice.

A £30,000 re­ward for de­tails lead­ing to a con­vic­tion still stands.

Det Insp Gary McIn­tyre said: “Tracey met a vi­o­lent and hor­rific death at the hands of her killers.

“She was so brave and told de­tec­tives as much as she could be­fore she died.

“be­lieve there are peo­ple out there who may have wit­nessed what hap­pened ei­ther in Birm­ing­ham, where Tracey was taken, or Cheshire, where she was killed. I would specif­i­cally ap­peal to them to come for­ward.”

Tracey had moved from Birm­ing­ham to Rochdale the month be­fore she died but re­turned to col­lect a ben­e­fits book from her old ad­dress.

IPo­lice be­lieve she ini­tially in­tended to re­turn the same day but in­stead ended up stay­ing overnight at her sis­ter-in-law’s and vis­ited her for­mer home the next morn­ing. Shortly be­fore noon on De­cem­ber 23, she an­swered a knock at the door and was con­fronted by two black men, who were be­lieved to have spo­ken with a Jamaican ac­cent. Po­lice be­lieve the din­ner lady was ab­ducted and bun­dled into the back of a yel­low Mark II Ford Es­cort parked out­side.

She suf­fered 95 per cent burns and was found in a church­yard in the vil­lage of Ea­ton, be­tween Mac­cles­field and Con­gle­ton, around five hours later.

A mem­ber of the pub­lic came to her aid but Tracey could not be saved and no-one has ever been con­victed in con­nec­tion with her death.

Det Insp McIn­tyre said de­tec­tives had fol­lowed up “nu­mer­ous lines of in­quiry” in the past 20 years but had drawn a blank. He said: “By re­fresh­ing peo­ple’s mem­o­ries with a re­newed ap­peal it is hoped that fur­ther in­for­ma­tion could be gained, which could fi­nally help to bring Tracey’s killers to jus­tice.

“ap­pre­ci­ate it is a long time ago, but am sure that if you wit­nessed some­thing you would still re­mem­ber this now.”

Any­one with any in­for­ma­tion should con­tact the Op­er­a­tion Ea­ton in­ves­ti­ga­tion team on 101 or Crimestop­pers, in con­fi­dence, on 0800 555 111.

II

●● Tracey Mertens, be­low, was hor­rif­i­cally mur­dered when she was ab­ducted and set alight in Ea­ton Church­yard, left. In­set: a car sim­i­lar to the one used to abduct Tracey

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