Police reopen Hilda Murrell case

POLICE have reopened their investigation into the murder of peace campaigner Hilda Murrell in 1984, following claims by a close friend that she can name the killers.

Trina Guthrie, 41, who regarded Miss Murrell, 78, as an aunt, says she has evidence to suggest the murder was carried out by four people hired by the security service, MI5, to steal information about the sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano during the Falklands war in 1982.

The evidence has come from a prisoner interviewed by Ms Guthrie between November 1991 and February 1992. He told her that he formed a friendship with another prisoner, currently serving 15 years for armed robbery, who claimed to have led the group that carried out the murder.

Ms Guthrie, an official of the Royal Society of Nature Conservation and a prison visitor, swore an affidavit, recently published in Enemies of the State, a book about the security services by Gary Murray.

West Mercia police have now set up a special incident room at Shrewsbury to look into the matter. Chief Insp Peter Herbert said: 'I am attaching great important to the contents of Trina Guthrie's affidavit.'

Ms Guthrie's affidavit does not include the names of the alleged murderers. She said she welcomed the police investigation and was prepared to assist, but would reveal the names of the three people she has been told were involved - the fourth remains a mystery - only to a public inquiry.

'I don't want it to be dismissed as not good enough. I've got to get it into the public arena so that interest is kept up and it is not white-washed,' Ms Guthrie said.

Hilda Murrell's half-naked body was found in March 1984 in a copse near Hunkington, near Shrewsbury. Covered by a coat, she had suffered multiple stab wounds, although a pathologist found she died of hypothermia.

After a nine-month investigation during which 3,600 potential suspects were 'researched', police told an inquest they had reached the 'inescapable conclusion' that Miss Murrell died after disturbing a burglary.

This failed to satisfy the anti- nuclear lobby, which was concerned that her death came shortly before she was due to speak at the public inquiry into the Sizewell B nuclear plant.

A number of MPs, including Labour's Tam Dalyell, believe her death may have been linked to the sinking of the General Belgrano. Miss Murrell's nephew, Commander Robert Green, was a member of the crew of HMS Conqueror, the British submarine which sank the warship.

Last night, Ms Guthrie said she believed Miss Murrell was murdered after her attackers failed to find the sought-after documents. She had been told that while two people drove to Miss Murrell's Welsh cottage hoping to find the documents, two others decided to intimidate Miss Murrell herself in the hope that she might reveal where the papers were.

'They found a citrus fruit - either an orange or a grapefruit - and after binding Hilda in a sheet, they stabbed the fruit with a knife. They told Hilda that unless she told them where the documents were stored she would suffer the same injuries. Hilda's fear must have excited them. One slashed her upper arm,' Ms Guthrie said.

A Home Office patholgist who carried out a post-mortem confirmed the stabbing detail at the inquest.

Later Miss Murrell was taken to an old army base outside Shrewsbury to be questioned further. At that point, with hospital treatment she might have survived, the pathologist told the inquest. Instead she was dumped while still alive.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reception Teacher

£21588 - £31552 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: YEAR 1 TEACHER - FUL...

English Teacher

£21806 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking to j...

SEN KS1 Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Qualified and experi...

Reception Teacher

£21588 - £31552 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: YEAR 1 TEACHER - FUL...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor