Cold case clue found by builders
7:00am Thu Aug 29, 2013
Detectives may have a second chance to solve a 50-year-old murder case after evidence was found by builders working on Newark’s former police station.
A blood-caked set of bicycle handlebars was found in a sealed evidence bag by builders during conversion work at the Appletongate station vacated by Nottinghamshire Police seven years ago.
The evidence bag was labelled Radcliffe-on-Trent murder, 1965.
The Advertiser is not naming the victim in the case to allow officers time to attempt to contact any relatives abhout the new development.
A senior officer described the find as embarrassing.
A police spokesman said: “This is a regrettable situation and something we are working hard to get to the bottom of.
“How this potential evidence came to be in the loft and remain so on our departure from the building seven years ago is central to our enquiries.”
Staff from Bilsthorpe-based contractors Robert Woodhead Ltd found the bag in the attic and took it to the police, who are now reviewing the case.
The police spokesman said: “We regularly review cold cases in light of new evidence and developments in investigative techniques and have informed our homicide team of this recent finding.
“We ensure that any items are fully examined to maximise the retention of evidence.”
When Newark Police moved to Queen’s Road in 2006 the former station was supposed to have been expertly stripped of everything police-related, particularly anything of value as evidence.
One serving police officer the Advertiser spoke to said: “How embarrassing.
“Imagine the surprise for the poor person on the front counter when it was handed back.”
Inspector Andy Gan, of Newark Police, said: “We should, of course, have made sure the old police station was properly cleared out before handing it over.
“It is embarrassing. It should never have been there for the workmen to find.
“Clearly this is not the way that evidence, particularly evidence from such a serious crime, should have been treated.”
The police spokesman said processes for the recording and storage of evidence had come a long way since the 1960s and there was a robust and comprehensive system in place.
“We now also require local officers to take responsibility for the relocation of all property from police stations in the event of a move,” he said.
“This involves a comprehensive checklist in a bid to ensure that nothing is missed.”
Retired defence solicitor David Payne said: “I’ve always said that it is better to preserve evidence rather than destroy it, even though in this instance it was forgotten about.
“Advances in forensic science, including DNA, demonstrate that.”