Father pleads for help to catch killer of 14-year-old girl

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The Independent Online

The father of a pregnant 14-year-old whose body was found in a graveyard has pleaded for help in catching the killer.

Amy Williams's body was discovered in St Michael's churchyard, in the Madeley area of Telford, Shropshire, on Monday morning. She was naked except for a pair of pink socks. The teenager had left a family party in Telford at about 9pm the night before and was not seen alive again.

Yesterday, her father, Mark Williams, said: "Our whole family has been devastated by Amy's death and we are in shock at what has happened to her. We cannot believe she is gone and we will never see her again. There are no words to describe what that means to us.

"Amy was a bright, happy girl who everyone liked and she had her whole life in front of her. She was expecting a baby and we know she was looking forward to becoming a mum.

"Somebody has taken her away from us. They have left her for dead in a cold churchyard. She didn't deserve this. They have got to be caught. If you know anything, please call the police."

Mr Williams made the plea at a press conference in Telford attended by Amy's sister, Kelly Williams, 17, and her 19-year-old half-sister, Katie Neal. All three family members were too upset to answer questions from reporters and left the news conference shortly afterwards.

A post-mortem examination found that Amy, who was six months pregnant, had been strangled to death. It found that there were no obvious signs of a struggle. She does not appear to have been sexually assaulted, although further tests are being carried out.

The police are still searching for Amy's missing clothes, and believe the killer may have taken them to prevent police from recovering DNA evidence.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Morgan, of West Mercia Police, said they were keeping an open mind about whether Amy knew her killer or whether it was a random attack. "It's quite possible it's someone known to her," he said. "Equally, it could be someone not known to her."

He confirmed that 16-year-old James Love, the father of Amy's unborn child, had been interviewed by police after her body was discovered. But he stressed: "We are interviewing an awful lot of people. He is one of the people we are treating as a witness to try to put a picture together of Amy and her movements on that fateful night."

According to a member of Amy's family, the teenager and Mr Love were no longer a couple at the time of the murder.

Det Ch Insp Morgan appealed for information about Amy's last movements. She was last seen alive at about 9pm on Boxing Day when she left the party alone. Her body was discovered at 9am the following day by an elderly man visiting his wife's grave.

Her clothing - a pink tracksuit and white Kappa trainers - was missing and still has not been found. A set of keys to her family home was also missing.

The officer said: "Those 12 hours [between her leaving the party and her body being found] are currently a mystery. It is vital we piece together what Amy was doing and who she was with during those 12 hours. She cannot simply have disappeared. We believe someone, several people perhaps, know where Amy was during those 12 hours. This information is crucial to our investigation."

Police also confirmed that they were aware of another attack on a young woman in the West Midlands on the evening of Boxing Day. In that incident, a 17-year-old woman was grabbed from behind as she walked in Wednesbury at about 11pm and was raped in a nearby cemetery.

But Detective Inspector Michael Homden said: "It is something we are aware of, but at the moment these particular crimes are not linked."