Detectives investigating the death of murdered Melanie Hall have uncovered "significant" new clues they believe may act as a breakthrough in the search for her killer.
Ms Hall, an employee at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, vanished 17-years ago after going on a night out at Cadillacs nightclub in Walcot Street, Bath, in June 1996.
Her body was discovered four years ago today, dumped by the M5 near Bristol. On 4 October, 2009, human remains were found near the M5 by a workman clearing vegetation. They were identified as the 25-year-old's two days later.
A Volkswagen Golf recently discovered by officers is being examined by forensic experts.
Detective Superintendent Mike Courtiour, leading the murder inquiry, said: “It is a white, A-registered, mark 1 Volkswagen Golf GTi cabriolet which is currently being examined by forensic scientists. At this stage we do not know if it is connected with the case, but it is a very interesting and possibly significant line of inquiry.
“Over the past four years we have received information, intelligence and names that we have taken seriously, researched and thoroughly investigated.
“We have recently received information concerning the origin of the blue rope that was used to tie up Melanie's body. It is significant information and we are actively working on that line of inquiry. We are working with forensic scientists in relation to the rope and the circumstances of where that particular length of rope came from.
Miss Hall's relatives also urged anyone who may have information to come forward as part of the fresh appeal.
Her elder sister Dominique said: “We have always been hopeful that someone would be brought to justice and that we would find out the details of what happened to Melanie.
“It won't make the future any different - there will never be closure for our family - but it would be a great consolation if someone would search their conscience and come forward to police with that vital information we need.”
Miss Hall's father Steve said: “This is very positive news. Gradually the pieces of the jigsaw are being put together to bring Melanie's killer or killers to justice.
“We always knew it would take a long time, but these new developments appear very encouraging. It's time for whoever has information about Melanie's murder to come forward and bring this to an end - because it will come to an end eventually. The police won't give up until they get a result.”
Det. Courtiour said officers from Avon and Somerset police remained determined to find the person responsible for her murder.
“Bringing Melanie Hall's killer or killers to justice remains one of our highest priorities,” he said.
“On this fourth anniversary of the discovery of her body, I can stress that the investigation is very much active. It has been, and continues to be, one of the most detailed and thorough murder investigations in the force's history.”
Additional reporting by PA