Encouraging response to Norfolk police’s cold cases website

A retired Norfolk detective responsible for investigating cold cases in the county has revealed he has been encouraged by the response to a new section of the force's website aimed at using the internet to help solve unsolved crimes stretching back more than 40 years.

Norfolk police launched a new cold cases section on the force's website in December last year in the hope that the internet might prove an innovative tool to prompt fresh information to help solve complex murder, missing people and sexual investigations.

That was six months ago and now Tony Deacon, senior investigator in the cold case team at Norfolk police has told how the cold case section, which will see each investigation highlighted on Norfolk police's Twitter and Facebook accounts, has already proved a 'positive' new tool for police.

Mr Deacon said: 'When we launched it we had a number of people who came back to us using emails, so I was quite pleased with that. A number of people said they wouldn't have contacted us if we hadn't done that.'

Some of those that contacted police had 'sat on information for years' and had only come to police in the past six months after the launch of the new section of the website.

Mr Deacon, who revealed some of the cases they had received information in relation to included April Fabb and Johanna Young, said: 'The new way of contacting people brought people to us.

'Unfortunately at this moment in time nothing has come to the fore which takes any of the cases forward, but I'm not disappointed by that. In some cases, where they are over 30 years old, its incredibly difficult to get people to remember what they can, but they are reading the material on our website and are responding to it which is a positive thing and I remain optimistic that we will get something new which will take us forward.'

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Mr Deacon said the new section of the website was never going to be the 'golden bullet' that solved all unsolved cases in the county, but was still hopeful it might help some of the many families of murder victims and missing people find the answers they so desperately need.

He said: 'It puts it more in the public eye and from that point of view it's achieved what we wanted to do.'

He added: 'We haven't forgotten these cases. None of these cases are forgotten even though they don't appear in police work every day. When something fresh comes in we will react to it, research it and record it to make sure we don't lose it. We're doing what we can with these cold cases.'

Mr Deacon, who said a similar scheme is set to be launched in Suffolk, urged anyone with any information about any of the cases to get in touch with police either in person or through the website.

The section of the website was launched in December, 18 years after the investigation into the murder of Watton teenager Johanna Young began.

The 14-year-old went missing on the evening of Wednesday, December 23, 1992 with her body not being found until the afternoon of Saturday, December 26.

If you have any information about any of the cold cases call Norfolk police on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

To view the cold cases log onto the website www.norfolk.police.uk/newsevents/coldcases.aspx