Father admits Crimewatch murder from 26 years ago

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The Independent Online

The first murder to feature on Crimewatch was officially solved yesterday when a man pleaded guilty to abducting and killing a trainee hairdresser 26 years ago.

Paul Hutchinson, 51, a married father of three, admitted strangling Colette Aram as she walked to her boyfriend’s house in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire and dumping her naked body in a field.

Thousands of people were interviewed during house-to-house inquiries, but it was only last year, on the 25th anniversary of Colette’s death, that police announced that they had a full DNA profile. It led to a match on their database from a former offence, and Hutchinson was arrested in April this year.

Hutchinson, a newspaper delivery man, of Stockgill Close, West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, was due to go on trial next month, but changed his plea.

Greg Dickinson QC, for the prosecution, said Hutchinson raped Colette before he strangled her.

He said: “The abduction and murder was premeditated and sexually motivated. Colette was abducted by force and her screams were heard by local residents. She sustained a blow to the head. However that may have been caused it would not have been sufficient to render her unconscious, and she would have been alive and conscious when she was sexually assaulted in the car.

“The defendant then strangled Colette with his hands and abandoned her naked body in a field. Her body was arranged in an overtly sexual pose and he was later to write a letter to police in which he taunted them that he had never been detected.”

On the night of the attack Colette would have normally been picked up by her boyfriend, but his car was off the road so she decided to walk.

During the day of 30 October 1983, Hutchinson had been hiding in a shed near Colette’s home, where he had eyed girls horse-riding at a stables before he stole a red Ford Fiesta owned by the principal of the riding school and drove to Keyworth.

He had a bread knife with him and he was spotted numerous times in the village before Colette was abducted.

One 17-year-old girl and another schoolgirl were approached by Hutchinson but he did not abduct them, the court heard.

The teenager’s mother, Jacqui Kirby, 63, her father, Tony Aram, a 69-year-old joiner, and brother Mark, who was 19 at the time, were at Nottingham Crown Court to see Hutchinson confess to Colette’s murder.

Speaking about her daughter in October last year, Colette’s mother said that bringing the culprit to justice would give her family closure.

Mrs Kirby said: “There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think about Colette and about what happened.

“It was terrible because I just knew that something had happened. My daughter was the type of person that, if she said she was going somewhere, she would be sure she was there. She was such a caring person, she did not want to worry anyone.”

She added: “Colette was very happy, always laughing, always smiling. She always thought about other people. She was a very caring girl. She was very popular and well-liked. Everybody loved her.”

Mrs Kirby, who moved to Greece to escape her tragic memories, said her last words to her daughter were to offer to drive her to see her boyfriend. After Colette refused the lift, she kissed her daughter goodbye.

Mr Aram said he still carried a picture of the “outgoing and bubbly” teenager with her pet dog Brandy in his wallet. He coped with the loss of his daughter by telling himself she had gone abroad.

Hutchinson will be sentenced on 25 January.