Melanie murder probe detectives encouraged by Crimewatch response

Wiltshire Times: Melanie Hall Melanie Hall

Detectives investigating the murder of university graduate Melanie Hall, who vanished in Bath nearly 20 years ago, are encouraged by the public response to a new appeal for information.

On BBC Crimewatch last night, Avon and Somerset Police revealed they want to talk to anyone who owned or knew of a particular white VW Golf GTi hardtop during the summer of 1996.

They believe the owner of the car, with the registration C752 CYE, may have vital information that could help the inquiry into the 25-year-old's murder.

Det Supt Mike Courtiour, who is leading the murder hunt, said: "We had a reasonable number of calls that are of interest to us and which warrant further investigation."

Miss Hall, from Bradford Leigh, who worked at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, vanished after a night out at Cadillacs nightclub in Walcot Street, Bath, in June 1996.

In 2009 her remains were found by the side of the M5 by a workman who was clearing vegetation on the slip road at junction 14, near Thornbury, south Gloucestershire.

Detectives said they wanted information about the car, which they believe has links to Cardiff and the Pentwyn area of the Welsh capital, from the beginning of April 1996 to August 7 1996.

During that period the Golf was not registered with the DVLA.

"We are still keen to reach as many people as possible who may have information about the white VW Golf GTi between April and August 1996, particularly people from the Pentwyn area of Cardiff," Mr Courtiour said.

Last October - on the fourth anniversary of the discovery of Miss Hall's body - detectives said they had found another white VW Golf GTi, a soft-top cabriolet, which they described as a "significant line of inquiry".

Officers also said they had received "significant information" about a blue rope used to tie up Miss Hall's body.

Mr Courtiour said his team was still investigating whether that car was relevant to the inquiry and are still carrying out forensic tests on some blue rope, which is similar to that used to bind her body.

Miss Hall's father Steve spoke last year of his hope that his daughter's killer would be brought to justice.

"Gradually the pieces of the jigsaw are being put together to bring Melanie's killer or killers to justice," he said.

"We always knew it would take a long time, but these new developments appear very encouraging.

"It's time for whoever has information about Melanie's murder to come forward and bring this to an end - because it will come to an end eventually.

"The police won't give up until they get a result."

A 44-year-old man, from Bath, who was arrested last year on suspicion of Miss Hall's murder, remains on police bail.

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