Unsolved sex killings in 1973 linked by DNA tests

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A serial killer is thought to be responsible for three unsolved murders 28 years ago, detectives revealed yesterday.

DNA evidence has linked the three murders in south Wales for the first time, and police believe the man responsible may have carried out a further three sexual assaults.

Detectives are to examine similar murders to establish whether the killer has struck in other parts of the country. They are thought to be considering links with a fourth, as yet unidentified, murder.

Advances in the analysis of tiny DNA samples found on the clothes of the victims, all 16-year-old girls, revealed a "strong" link between them.

The bodies of Pauline Floyd and Geraldine Hughes were found in Llandarcy in September 1973; the body of Sandra Newton, who was killed three months earlier, was found in a culvert beneath a mountain roadway in Tonmawr, Neath.

Detective Chief Superintendent Wynne Phillips, the head of South Wales CID, said yesterday that over the years detectives had looked at the similarities between the two cases, but until now there had been no positive link. He added that police were now looking at the possibility that the same person carried out three sexual attacks on women in the Pontardawe, Neath and Port Talbot areas in 1973.

Last year South Wales Police revealed they had extracted the DNA profile of a man from crime-scene samples taken from the woods where the bodies of Pauline and Geraldine were discovered.

Both girls had been raped and strangled. They were last seen hitch-hiking home after a night out in Swansea.

Sandra, who lived in Cimla, Neath, went missing on 14 July 1973, after an evening out with friends in Briton Ferry. Her body was found three days later. She had also been sexually assaulted and strangled.