Jean Bradley, 47, operations manager with a West End relocation company, was attacked getting into her BMW parked near Acton Town underground station in west London. She was stabbed several times by a man with an eight-inch knife.
Detectives sought last night to play down similarities with the unsolved murder of Penny Bell, aged 43, a businesswomen stabbed in her Jaguar car at Greenford, three miles from Acton, in June 1991; the women are of similar appearance and in neither case is there evidence of sexual assault or robbery as motive. Police said that although detectives were liaising it was 'too early to speculate' that the same person might be responsible.
Miss Bradley was killed last Thursday evening but full details were disclosed by Scotland Yard only yesterday, following the release of a man questioned about the murder since shortly after the incident. The man has been ruled out of inquiries.
Miss Bradley habitually parked her car near the underground station after driving into London from her home in Crowthorne, Berkshire; she continued to her office by train.
A carpenter passing in his van saw the incident and drove after the attacker. After a short distance, he stopped his vehicle and confronted the man, who ignored him and walked away. After pleading, unsuccessfully, with passers-by to call police, he continued to follow the attacker into a housing estate, where the man disappeared in an underground car park. Detectives said this suggested he had local knowledge.
Police say the attacker was white, aged about 40, 6 feet tall, with gaunt features and a large nose. He was wearing a black shiny hat that looked like a sou'wester and a three-quarter length grey coat.
Nick Osborne, 42, a history teacher and Miss Bradley's companion for 21 years, said yesterday they had visited the area around the underground station to make sure it was safe. He said they were planning to marry. 'My life revolved around her. I am totally, utterly shocked. I can't think of any reason why anyone should do this.'
Miss Bradley had worked for a New Bond Street company for about 10 years, specialising in helping employees of United States businesses to move to Britain. She was described as 'a dedicated professional woman'. She had previously been a British Airways stewardess and had worked on the Queen's Flight.
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