The tragic mur­der of teenager who was lured away from party

Glamorgan Gazette - - News - PHILIP DEWEY

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

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