The tragic murder of teenager who was lured away from party
HOUSE parties are par for the course for most teenagers. But for Rebecca Storrs it would be the place where she would have a chance meeting with the man who would go on to murder her.
In March 1999, the “beautiful” and “compassionate” girl’s body was found face down and halfsubmerged in the River Ogmore in Bridgend behind a cash and carry store by a dog walker.
She had been strangled, smashed over the head with a hammer and subjected to a horrific sex attack.
The man who Rebecca met at the party that night, Marc Shillibier, has never admitted her murder and continues to claim his innocence despite being convicted and imprisoned for at least 22 years.
Rebecca, known as Becky to her friends and family, was just 18 at the time of her death. She lived in Westminster Way, in Cefn Glas, Bridgend, with her mother and two sisters. She went to Bryntyrion Comprehensive School. Her father lived in Sussex at the time of her death.
On March 15, 1999, she was on a night out in Bridgend and had visited the Three Horseshoes pub. Rebecca met up with a group of people at a kebab house who were on their way to what they thought was a party at a house in Wildmill and she tagged along. They’d been invited by a girl they met in a club. But there was no party.
“There was only the girl from the club, her mother and three men but nothing to drink, not even coffee, and not much conversation,” one of them said.
But it was there Rebecca met Marc Shillibier, a 32-year-old divorced father-of-two, as she was leaving Shillibier lured her away. It would be the last time she was seen alive.
It is believed Shillibier took Rebecca to his “favourite courting spot” behind a Bookers cash and carry, in Tondu Road, where the teenager spurned his advances.
Residents living opposite the river bank later later reported hearing a woman’s voice and a piercing scream at about 4.30am.
At 11am, a dog walker saw something in the water. He phoned the police who discovered it was a body.
Rebecca had been viciously attacked and sustained injuries believed to have be caused by a hammer and Stanley knife. She had also been strangled and subjected to a sex attack. The riverbank was covered with blood stains.
On the night of Rebecca’s death, Shillibier failed to return home to his lodg- ings, which he shared with a friend’s family.
A 20-year-old woman, whose flat Rebecca and Shillibier had attended that night, said she was woken up between 6am and 7am by Shillibier knocking on her door. She described him as being smartly dressed with wet hair.
She said: “He told me he had done something stupid and needed help. He said he had had sex with someone and that he had killed someone. He said if I went to the cops I would be next.”
Four days after Rebecca’s body was found, Shillibier was arrested on suspicion of her murder. He was kept in police custody for 36 hours and interviewed. Detectives appealed to magistrates for extra time to question Shibillier but on March 12 he was released without charge.
Another friend of Shillibier said the former fishmonger had admitted to the killing after being released by police.
Police later found tools in the boot of Shillibier’s car, including a claw hammer. They also found a hammer 100 yards from the murder scene.
Two months after Rebecca’s body was found, Shilllibier was rearrested and formally charged with her murder after Rebecca’s DNA was found on a cigarette end found in his car.
During interviews, Shillibier admitted he had smoked a cigarette in his car with a girl on the night Rebecca went missing. He said he had not noticed what the girl in his car looked like but said she looked scruffy and not like the pictures of Rebecca shown to him by the police.
He said: “We were in the car as long as it takes to smoke a cigarette.”
He said there had been no physical contact between them.
Clothing, tools from Shillibier’s car boot and even a washing machine and tumble dryer were seized and examined for evidence but, other than the cigarette end, there was nothing to link Shillibier with Rebecca.
It was said in Shillibier’s trial at Cardiff Crown Court, which took place between October and December 2000, by prosecution expert Professor Kenneth Pye that there was an 80% chance mud found in the defendant’s car matched that on the riverbank. But Dr Christopher Jeens, from Cambridge University’s science department, said he regarded samples taken from the embankment and from the car seat covers as a mismatch.
Shillibier gave evidence to the court and outright denied murder.
Shillibier told the court he had never carried a weapon of any kind and had not confessed to killing Rebecca.
He said: “That’s total rubbish. Not a shred of truth in it.”
He admitted to lying to the police when they first asked about his meeting with Rebecca and had told them she had not been in his car.
He said: “I lied because they wouldn’t believe me. The police hate me, absolutely hate me. I was frightened they would not believe what I said.”
He later claimed the police had “lied, plotted and schemed” against him.
On December 18, 2000, following a trial which lasted 42 days, the jury of seven men and five women returned a guilty verdict. Mr Justice Richard Aikens sentenced him to life imprisonment with a minimum of 22 years for what he described as a “barbaric and evil murder of a young woman”.
He added: “The injuries you inflicted, whether in life or death, showed a depth of depravity which was truly horrific.”
As he was led away to the police cells from the court, Shillibier shouted: “You have made a mistake. I did not kill Rebecca Storrs.”
Shillibier was given leave to appeal his conviction in 2003 – due to the admissibility of evidence from interviews he gave to police while he was not under caution – but in 2006, judges at the Court of Appeal rejected Shillibier’s claim his conviction was unsafe. And could he also have been responsible for two other murders?
During his trial for the murder of Rebecca, Shillibier claimed police were “out to get him” after he had been acquitted six months earlier of killing Kevin Muhyiddin at a flat in Bath.
Mr Muhyiddin, 45, was discovered dead on February 9, 1997 by firefighters called to his home, which had been set on fire. The victim was found kneeling against a bed with a knife in his back and a broken neck.
It was claimed Shillibier had beaten, strangled and stabbed him after having sex with him. Shillibier claimed he was innocent and told the jury on the night of the killing he was at home in Weston-superMare “high on drugs” and trying to steal diesel generators.
He was found not guilty of murdering Mr Muhyiddin following the nine-day trial.
After his acquittal, Shillibier had moved to Devon before returning to his native Bridgend, where he claimed he was “well known to police”.
Shillibier has also been linked with a notorious unsolved murder. The body of hospital worker Melanie Hall, 25, was found in a bin bag on the side of the M5 in 2012 – 13 years after she disappeared from a nightclub in Bath. Her body had been burned after her murder.
Authorities were told Shillibier confessed to a cellmate he was responsible for Ms Hall’s death, but he later withdrew his claim – made in 2000, three years after she vanished – and refused to cooperate with detectives investigating the disappearance. No-one has been charged in connection with her murder.
Rebecca Storrs, 18, was murdered by Marc Shillibier, left