Boy's 1985 sex killer identified

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The Independent Online

Police have identified the killer of a nine-year-old boy who was raped and strangled 24 years ago.

Imraan Ismail Vohra vanished as he walked home from school and his partially-clothed body was found two days later in Avenham Park, Preston, Lancashire, on 13 July 1985.

He had played a game of marbles with his friends at Frenchwood Junior School before setting off for his home in James Street.

Robert Morley, a petty criminal from London who was living in the Lancashire city at the time, has been identified as his killer thanks to the use of "familial DNA". He died in Essex in 1997, aged 62.

Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Gardner, head of crime for Lancashire Police, told BBC Radio Lancashire: "We've known from 2002 we've had a part-profile of the killer from the scene.

"In six years we've tested 1,400 men against that sample. There's been further advances, such as 'familial DNA', which allows us to arrive at an offender through family members.

"Morley doesn't stand on the national database because he died but we were able to identify him through family members."

Morley was one of six children and fathered seven children with several different women.

Scientists say that, according to the DNA evidence, the chances of him not being responsible for Imraan's murder are a billion to one.

Mr Gardner said: "The findings clearly point to the fact that Robert Morley is responsible for Imraan's death and we are now endeavouring to find out more about his life in Preston."

He described Morley, known as Bob, as a "violent, sexually controlling man".

Morley, from Islington, north London, was evacuated to Lancashire during the Second World War.

He moved back to the county in 1979, settling first in Accrington and then moving to Preston later that year.

Between 1983 and 1987 he lived in Lancaster House, a tower block in Avenham, and it is believed he lived there at the time of the murder.

He returned to Charlton in south-east London in 1988 and remained there until shortly before his death.

Mr Gardner said: "I would be interested to hear from anyone who knew Robert Morley in or around 1985 in Preston."

He said Imraan's family "have conducted themselves with great dignity in the most distressing circumstances for many years".

He added: "There's no happy ending to this story but in some ways it does bring some conclusion to them. I would have liked to have seen this man brought to justice in Crown Court."

Imraan's family released a statement thanking the police and said: "As a family we would have liked to have seen justice in the courts, but justice will be done hereafter."

Anyone with any information about the case or Robert Morley should call Preston Police on 01772 203203.