New team set to investigate historic crimes
Funding has been secured to establish a specialist team to investigate several unsolved crimes on Teesside.
In 2017 Cleveland Police and Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner applied for a special grant from the Home Office to fund the investigation of three separate historic cases. The cases involve the disappearance of three young women in Middlesbrough between 1998 and 2002. Two of the victims are known to have been murdered, while the third has never been found; this enquiry has also been declared a murder investigation.
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger said: “In such longstanding unsolved cases as these my thoughts are always with the family and friends who grieve each day for the unexplained disappearance of their loved ones. It's very important that no stone is left unturned in our efforts to discover what happened to these three young women and in seeking justice for them.
“For that reason I am delighted we have been successful in a bid for £3.77m from the Home Office to fund an Historic Investigation Unit (HIU) which will focus on a range of specific cases which have been investigated before but remain unsolved. The central grant we have received means we will not need to divert funds from day-to-day policing or use money from the local precept, to pay for this important work.
“I set out in my Police and Crime Plan that I would work with Cleveland Police to secure the future of our communities, which are made stronger not just through current neighbourhood policing and partnership working but also through specialist teams such as this HIU. Although often not as visible to the public, such teams play a vital role and I welcome the Force’s determination and commitment to investigate these cases further.
“It may be there are people out there who have knowledge about these cases and have not yet come forward. Whatever the reason for that, I would urge them now to take the step of contacting the police, however trivial the information may seem it may be vital in building up the picture of what happened to these young women.”
Assistant Chief Constable Jason Harwin said: “The HIU will look into the deaths of Vicky Glass in 2000, Rachel Wilson in 2002 and the disappearance of Donna Keogh in 1998.
“There is commonality between the cases through the sex and ages of the victims and all being linked geographically to Middlesbrough. It is too early in the re-investigations to say if there are any other links.
“In our funding bid to the Home Office we made it clear that these are complex investigations that will require meticulous investigation over a number of years to complete. We will continue to work closely with the families of the three victims to keep them informed of developments and will also seek the ongoing support the public, and the media, as the investigations progress.”