Killer may have copied La Plante

DETECTIVES investigating the fatal stabbing of a woman in Cornwall are to watch a television murder drama by Lynda La Plante to check whether the killer copied parts of the programme.

The two-part drama, Trial and Retribution II, was broadcast on ITV on the two nights before Linda Bryant, 41, was murdered in daylight while walking her dog.

Mrs Bryant, a mother of two, died from stab wounds to the neck, chest and back during the attack in a gateway of a field near her home in Ruan High Lanes, a few miles from Truro, on 20 October.

Trial and Retribution II, the latest drama from the writer of the Prime Suspect series, is about the police hunt for a killer who tortured and mutilated his female victims. A number of women, most of whom are prostitutes, are murdered by the killer, who is both brutal and manipulative. He manages to persuade both his wife and girlfriend to provide him with an alibi.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said yesterday that officers had asked for a copy of the programme to see whether there were any similarities in the methods of attack. He added: "This programme has come to notice in the inquiry and will be viewed in due course."

He said that at this stage there was nothing to suggest any links between the television drama, which is a piece of fiction, and the murder.

Detective Superintendent Chris Boarland, who is leading 140 police in the murder hunt, yesterday renewed his appeal to members of the public to call in with information.

The police still want to trace a man who was seen walking on the road near Ruan High Lanes less than an hour before Mrs Bryant set out with her lurcher dog.

Det Supt Boarland has said there was a "good chance" that the man was the killer.

The suspect was seen at 12.45pm half a mile towards Ruan from a petrol station where Mrs Bryant was seen in her car at 1.10pm.

The man, who was wearing a light-coloured canvas top, is between 30 and 35 and is 5ft 10in tall. He has swept-back dark hair and bushy eyebrows.

Mrs Bryant had begun walking from her cottage home at 1.30pm, and 15 minutes later was seen talking to a man at Ruan Methodist Chapel, about 100 yards from where she was murdered.

A spokeswoman for La Plante Productions, said: "Sadly, in our current times this [the murder] is not a unique situation and we see no reason to believe that Trial and Retribution is connected to this in any way."

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