Police hunt for missing clothes of murdered girl

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The Independent Online
FURTHER TESTS were being made last night to determine how 17- year-old Vicky Hall was murdered after police said a post-mortem examination had been inconclusive.

Detectives confirmed her naked body had been found in a water-filled ditch on Friday evening. She was last seen a week ago walking home from a nightclub. Police could not say whether she had been sexually assaulted and refused to comment on any injuries. The search continues for the clothes Vicky had been wearing.

The girl went missing in the early hours of Sunday, 19 September, after she and a friend had walked from a nightclub in Felixstowe, Suffolk. Her friend, Gemma Algar, said they had been a few hundred yards from Vicky's home in the village of Trimley St Mary when they parted.

Her body was discovered by a man walking his dog at Creeting St Peter near Stowmarket, 25 miles away.

Yesterday, the officer heading the inquiry, Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, said it was vital that Vicky's clothes - a black dress and a brown jacket - were found. "Although we do not have an obvious cause of death, we are treating Vicky's death as murder," he said. "Tests have also been carried out to see if Vicky was sexually assaulted but at this stage it is impossible to say whether she was raped.

"As Vicky was found naked, one of the main lines of inquiry at the moment is to trace the clothes she was wearing when she went missing. I would appeal for anyone finding her black dress, brown jacket, sandals or purse to contact the police immediately."

Another officer said: "Depending on where we find them we could get some idea about where she might have been taken. There is also the chance that they could contain a forensic clue."

Yesterday afternoon scores of people from Vicky's home village filed into St Martin and St Mary church to say prayers for the teenager and her family. The Rev Rod Corke, the temporary vicar at the church, urged villagers to pray for Vicky's parents and brother.

He added: "Pray for Vicky's friend Gemma, and all her friends, as they try to make sense of what has happened and struggle with their pain. Pray for folk in Trimley who are stunned, shocked and frightened by what has happened."

Canon Kenneth Wakefield had said: "Today all of us are in great turmoil as we see things happen in our society which are pure evil and beyond belief. Who could think that a young girl could not walk safely from Felixstowe to Trimley - and yet it has happened."

A week before the teenager's disappearance, a 19-year-old women was raped close to the same Felixstowe nightclub Vicky visited. Police declined to say whether they believed the incidents were linked. They also refused to comment on tests on a burnt-out car recovered on Saturday a mile from where Vicky's body was found. Villagers close to Vicky's home said they heard a car, and a woman screaming at around the time she was last seen alive.

Detectives in the 50-officer murder team say additional forensic tests could take up to a week. Earlier, police questioned a 21-year-old Ipswich man about Vicky's disappearance. He was released on police bail without charge pending further inquiries.