Police find no motive for petrol murder
Monday 26 December 1994
Tracy Mertens, 31, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, was found barely alive by a local resident on the steps of a church in Eaton, Cheshire, on Friday afternoon.
She was taken to North Staffordshire Hospital but died early on Christmas Eve from extensive burns, possibly as severe as 100 per cent.
A post-mortem examination confirmed that the burns were the sole cause of death, discounting earlier reports that she had also suffered broken limbs.
Detectives from Cheshire, West Midlands and Greater Manchester were liaising in the hunt for the killers but said yesterday afternoon that they still had not established a motive for the murder.
Ms Mertens was abducted from a terraced house in Birmingham on Friday morning and driven north to rural Cheshire where she was murdered later that day.
They were still searching for two black men, believed to be aged about 30, who were seen driving her away from the house in what was described as a "tatty'' yellow Ford Escort.
A police spokesman said that many of the Midlands' roads were extremely busy with pre-Christmas traffic on Friday, including the M6 which is monitored by numerous security cameras.
Police have appealed for anyone who might have seen the car or its occupants to come forward with information.
"There are still no indications as to what the motive could have been and we still want to hear from anyone who might have seen this car between 11am and 4.20pm on Friday between Birmingham and Eaton,'' a police spokesman said yesterday.
Ms Mertens, whose children were being looked after by relatives yesterday, lived in Rochdale but spent a lot of time in Birmingham where her partner had several relatives.
Police and forensic experts were at the Birmingham house yesterday while Cheshire detectives liaised with colleagues in Manchester.
The villager who found Ms Mertens said that she was barely conscious when she found her slumped next to the church in Eaton.
"She was in a terrible state. Someone else from the village stayed with her while I rang for the police and ambulance,'' she said.
Five men were arrested in Glasgow yesterday and charged with the murder of Gary Talbot, an 18-year-old student who died in the city in the early hours of Christmas morning.
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Caitlyn Jenner's mother Ester thought her daughter, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had transitioned for money
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
Charles Kennedy dead: A guy once asked the Lib Dem leader who his favourite Muppet was and his letter response was wonderful
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...