Screams in the Night

ME­LANIE HALL WAS BRIGHT, BEAU­TI­FUL AND VI­VA­CIOUS, BUT SHE VAN­ISHED ON A NIGHT OUT IN 1996. FOR 13 YEARS THERE WAS NO SIGN OF HER, UN­TIL RE­MAINS WERE FOUND BY A MO­TOR­WAY

Real Crime - - Front Page - Words Robert Mur­phy

“It’s com­ing home, it’s com­ing home, it’s com­ing, Foot­ball’s com­ing home.” That was a new song then, in 1996 – a cho­rus that echoed round the coun­try as Eng­land hosted Euro 96. And in the open­ing game Eng­land faced Switzer­land, con­ced­ing a late goal to draw.

Peo­ple in the his­toric city of Bath were as trans­fixed by the foot­ball as else­where in Eng­land. After the game many headed for the Georgian city’s pubs, bars and night­clubs. Among the crowds that Satur­day night was a young cou­ple. He was a re­cently qual­i­fied doc­tor. She was a psy­chol­ogy grad­u­ate work­ing as a cler­i­cal of­fi­cer at the Royal United Hos­pi­tal, where they met. Her name was Me­lanie Hall.

25- year- old Me­lanie was bright, beau­ti­ful and vi­va­cious, her par­ents would later say. “She was very ex­cited. This was a girl who had ev­ery­thing in front of her. She was ab­so­lutely bub­bling, it was the pin­na­cle of her youth,” her fa­ther told The Sun. Me­lanie had got to­gether with Ger­man sur­geon Philip Kurl­baum, three weeks prior. She planned to spend the week­end at his flat in the cen­tre of Bath.

She lived with her par­ents, Steve and Pat, in Brad­for­don- Avon eight kilo­me­tres away. The pre­vi­ous day, the Fri­day, her par­ents moved into a new home. Her mother had driven Me­lanie to Bath. Me­lanie planned to spend the night with Philip and go to a friend’s party in Bath the fol­low­ing night.

“I just said have a lovely time,” Pat said. “That was the last time I spoke to her. I didn’t need to tell her I loved her.”

Preface to mur­der

On Satur­day night, 8 June, bars jos­tled with peo­ple watch­ing the Eng­land foot­ball match. Me­lanie and Philip went to a friend’s party, but it ended early, so they and an­other cou­ple de­cided to keep the night go­ing and went to one of Bath’s many night­clubs.

Cadil­lacs was a venue on Wal­cot Street, Bath’s Bo­hemian quar­ter. The four of them went in. Cadil­lacs had a rep­u­ta­tion as a main­stream club. Satur­day nights was a ‘ towny’ af­fair, as op­posed to Mon­day’s ‘ stu­dent nights’. Me­lanie and Philip were there for some time. At one point he left the club to get more cash out. When Dr. Kurl­baum re­turned he saw Me­lanie danc­ing with an­other man and stormed back out of the club. Later, Me­lanie’s other friends left the club. She was sat on a stool by the dance floor. She was alone. It was the last time any­one who knew Me­lanie Hall saw her alive.

On the Sun­day, Pat and Steve Hall as­sumed that Me­lanie would pop over to see their new home. But she didn’t show. And the fol­low­ing morn­ing Me­lanie did not ar­rive for work, which had never hap­pened be­fore. She was a cler­i­cal of­fi­cer in the same hos­pi­tal where her mother worked as a nurse.

Pat tried to con­tact Me­lanie but had no luck. There was no sign of Me­lanie all day. They con­tacted Philip, who said he last saw her in the night­club. At 8pm, Pat and Steve drove to Bath po­lice sta­tion. “I re­mem­ber driv­ing down and think­ing for the first time per­haps I will never see her again, that crossed my mind. But I didn’t say that to Pat,” Steve later said. “We were caught up in the mo­ment, it’s like a car ac­ci­dent, sud­denly there’s a lot go­ing on and it takes you over. Once we had gone to the po­lice sta­tion things hap­pened quite quickly. The po­lice came to us that evening and we were be­ing over­taken by events. They searched here in the gar­den till mid­night and came back the next morn­ing, it was full scale and all kicked in.”

She sat on a stool by the dance floor. She was alone. It was the last time any­one saw Me­lanie Hall alive

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