Fresh bid to solve murder
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.
●● 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