£20,000 reward in jogger murder hunt

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The Independent Online

Detectives put up a £20,000 reward today in a bid to finally bring to justice the man responsible for one of Britain's best-known notorious unsolved murders.

American artist Margaret Muller, 27, was stabbed to death in a frenzied attack as she jogged through Victoria Park in Hackney, east London, eight years ago today.



Investigators staged the biggest reconstruction in Metropolitan Police history and have arrested nine suspects but no-one has ever been charged with the crime.



After receiving fresh information, they now believe Miss Muller may have been the victim of a bungled robbery.



Officers said the attacker probably sprinted out of the Queen's Gate entrance to the park, past the Britannia pub, moments afterwards.



Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, who is leading the inquiry, said someone may still be holding back potentially vital information.



She said: "Margaret was a talented young woman with a bright and exciting future ahead of her. That was all taken away when she was brutally struck down in Victoria Park eight years ago.



"Officers have worked tirelessly on this case and have managed to sift through literally hundreds of pieces of information and leads.



"Despite the tremendous support from the local community, we know that some people still hold vital information about Margaret's murder.



"Together with information already gathered they could help us achieve justice for Margaret and her family and friends. We urge anyone with new information to come forward and assist us."



Miss Muller, who studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, was attacked shortly before 8.30am on Monday February 3, 2003.



She was discovered slumped on a path between a rose garden and a playground after other joggers heard her screams.



A month after the killing, officers staged Scotland Yard's largest reconstruction, asking more than 100 witnesses to retrace their movements in the park.



Police warned that Miss Muller's attacker probably stalked the park looking for a victim and probably had a history of killing animals for pleasure.



Detectives have since ruled out one suspect who attacked a second woman in Clissold Park, in nearby Stoke Newington, in December 2003.



Teenager Elias Cecchetti, known as "Slasher", was convicted of a frenzied knife attack on another jogger.



Cecchetti - then aged 15 - chased seriously injured teacher Monica Watts through the park after stabbing her, shouting abuse.



At the time police said there was only a tiny chance that the two attacks were not linked because they were so similar.



But Cecchetti was eliminated because he was in custody at the time of the attack on Miss Muller.



Another man arrested after an indecent assault in the same park five months before the murder has also been ruled out.



In 2005, detectives questioned Eminem impersonator Christopher Duncan, 25, over Miss Muller's death after he was convicted of murdering law student Jagdip Najran.



Duncan battered his victim over the head with a metal baseball bat and stuffed her unconscious body into a suitcase at his flat in Bethnal Green, east London.



Miss Muller, who moved to Britain in 1998, was buried in her home town of Falls Church, Virginia.



:: Anyone with information is asked to call the incident room on 0208 345 1585 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.