Parents speak out after M5 bones find

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The Independent Online

The parents of a graduate whose remains were found by a motorway more than a decade after she vanished today spoke of their "untold anguish".

Bones belonging to 25-year-old Melanie Hall, whose disappearance was one of the most high profile cases of the 1990s, were found in a bag by a workman clearing vegetation on the M5 slip road at junction 14, north of Bristol, on Monday.

The hospital worker was last seen in Cadillacs nightclub, in Walcot Street, Bath on 9 June, 1996.

Steve Hall, 65, an ex-chairman of Bath City from Bradford-on-Avon, said his "vibrant" daughter was now a "bag of bones".

Mr Hall spoke of his "untold anguish" and said: "We desperately need to know what happened to Melanie."

His wife Pat said: "I feel very angry her body has been dumped on the road like a sack of garbage."

Police confirmed her remains were found in black bin liners.

Mr Hall said the killer was probably watching and urged the public to help.

He said: "People out there know, they've lived with that secret for 13 years - now I'm appealing for the person who knows to come forward."

His wife added: "It's a great help to think people are still thinking of you."

The bag included a significant number of bones, including a skull and pelvis, while other bones were found partially buried nearby.

The psychology graduate had been on a night out with friends and her boyfriend of three weeks, Dr Philip Karlbaum, who left the club "upset" after seeing her dancing with another man.

Miss Hall, who worked as a clerical officer in the orthopaedic department at Bath's Royal United Hospital where she met Dr Karlbaum, was last seen sitting on a stool near the dancefloor shortly after 1am.

Thousands of nightclubbers and taxi drivers were interviewed in an investigation involving 60 officers and several searches of the River Avon, but no trace of Miss Hall was found.

A £10,000 reward and public appeals were also made on GMTV, Crimewatch and a Crimestoppers special.

In 2003 police arrested two men in connection with her disappearance but they were released without charge after police searched buildings and a field near Bath.

The police case has never been closed and detectives have looked at possible links with the case of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh and the "Batman rapist" a serial sex attacker in Bath who has evaded capture for years.

The prime suspect in the Suzy Lamplugh case, convicted killer John Cannan, was in jail at the time Miss Hall went missing but police interviewed him in 1998 as they believed his former cellmate, convicted rapist Christopher Clark, could have been involved.

Police also questioned convicted killer Mark Shillibier about the case in December 2000, but no charges were brought against either man.

Mrs Hall added: "Over the last 13 years we have had three things we wanted to know. Where Melanie was ... who was involved and why."

She said it had had taken the past decade to find out the first question and now she was relying on "everybody" to find out the answers to the remaining questions.

Mike Courtier, who is leading the investigation for Avon and Somerset police, said it was his intention to "identify and bring to justice the person responsible".

He added: "We are continuing to carry out extremely detailed examinations of her remains.

"We believe her body had been at the site for a significant amount of time."