New lead reopens inquiry Dame Shirley Bassey's daughter's death

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The Independent Online

Fresh inquiries are being made into the death of Dame Shirley Bassey's daughter after the family of a convicted killer's victim handed detectives fresh information.

The Welsh singer has always maintained that the death of Samantha Novak, 25 years ago, was not an accident or suicide.

Miss Novak, 21, was found face-down in the River Avon, near Bristol and the 250ft Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Shortly after her death, a coroner said it appeared Miss Novak tumbled off the riverbank after a night out with friends, and there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.

But today Avon and Somerset Police revealed the family of convicted killer Michael Moffat's victim - Penny Beale - has written to detectives with a new lead.

Miss Beale's mother said the killer claimed to be "involved in the murder" of Miss Novak.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Carter, head of the force's major crime review team, said: "The mother of Moffat's victim wrote to us with some information in the last couple of weeks.

"Her daughter had said that Moffat told her he was involved in the murder of Samantha Novak.

"We looked at the circumstances surrounding the death six months ago after comments made by Dame Shirley Bassey.

"There was nothing from the coroner's report to suggest it was murder rather than suicide, however this information is obviously additional so we are making fresh inquiries."

Moffat, 47, originally from Edinburgh, was jailed for 11 years for battering girlfriend Ms Beale, 31, to death in Hastings, East Sussex, in 2001.

Moffat left Ms Beale with 123 injuries including 18 broken ribs, while her liver, spleen and lungs were also ruptured.

It is understood Moffat boasted of being in a relationship with Miss Novak when she died in 1985.

Dame Shirley, who also has an elder daughter Sharon and adopted son Mark, brought Samantha up with second husband Sergio Novak.

Last October, Dame Shirley told reporters she always had suspicions surrounding her daughter's death.

She said: "I never believed that she killed herself. If she'd jumped off the bridge, all her bones would have been broke