Inquiry reopens into campaigner's murder

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Detectives are to review the police inquiry into the murder of the anti-nuclear campaigner Hilda Murrell, whose death 18 years ago prompted claims that she had been killed by the secret services.

Police hope advances in forensic science might solve the mystery of the death of the 78-year-old woman, whose battered body was found in remote woodland on Haughmond Hill near her home in Shrewsbury on 24 March 1984.

At the time theories circulated that Miss Murrell had been killed by secret agents who were disturbed as they searched her home for documents on the sinking of the Argentine warship General Belgrano during the Falklands War. There were claims Miss Murrell might have been hiding documents about the ship for her nephew, a naval intelligence officer.

Fuelling the suspicions was the fact that Miss Murrell was due to give evidence to the public inquiry into the Sizewell B nuclear reactor. Private investigators claimed they were keeping watch on her.

However, police concluded Miss Murrell had been killed during a bungled burglary.

A West Mercia police spokesman said it would take about five months to evaluate the evidence from the inquiry. The reopening of the case was normal procedure, he said.