Peter Miller: New lead in 30-year-old Norfolk murder inquiry as weapon is discovered
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The body of Peter Miller, 24, was found in the kitchen of his home in Camden Place, off Blackfriars Road, Yarmouth, on December 9 1984.
He died as a result of a single stab wound to his chest and was discovered at about 7.45pm by his brother Tony on Sunday, December 9, 1984. He had last been seen alive earlier in the afternoon by his neighbour, after he had helped her with some household repairs.
Until recently, the murder weapon had not been found.
However, fresh evidence received by the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Team led to the discovery of a weapon which could have been used in the attack.
The weapon, a sharp implement, which was found in Yarmouth although police will not reveal exactly where, is thought to have been hidden for almost 30 years and is being forensically examined to see if it contains evidence linking it to the murder.
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Detective Inspector Gary Bloomfield, senior investigating officer, said: 'This is an exciting new development in an historic investigation and underlines our commitment to resolving our unsolved cases. Fresh information will always be assessed and we will take the necessary action to drive the investigation forward. I am confident that whoever killed Peter was from the Great Yarmouth area and somebody from that community will have knowledge or suspicions as to who the murderer is.' A new appeal for information, aimed particularly at those people living in Yarmouth who had links to the town at the time, has today been issued to coincide with the launch of a new Norwich Evening News campaign.
The investigation into Peter's murder heralds the launch of the unprecedented, Norfolk Unsolved campaign, where the Norwich Evening News will work with Archant sister papers, including the EDP, and Norfolk police, to crack some of the force's most notorious unsolved cases.
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Over the coming weeks and months the Norwich Evening News is to take a renewed look at some of Norfolk police's most serious unsolved cases in a bid to help bring justice – and closure – to those families and friends who have had loved ones murdered, attacked, or taken from them in the most horrific of circumstances. Some of the cases we will be looking at date back more than 50 years, but it is hoped the campaign, the unrivalled coverage it will provide and in some cases the reward on offer, will help prompt those with vital clues to come forward and tell the police so these crimes can finally be solved. Det Insp Bloomfield has backed the campaign, which he also hoped would generate even more leads for officers working on the case. He said: 'There's a need for a conduit to exist between Norfolk police and the community and this partnership with Archant is an excellent initiative to get the message across in these unsolved cases.'
Det Insp Bloomfield said the discovery of a weapon in the inquiry was 'key' but could not add much more detail about the weapon at this time other than the fact it was found in Yarmouth.
He said: 'We had some significant information come into the inquiry last year which led us to review it and part of that was around the potential location of the murder weapon. We conducted some searches and we've recovered a weapon which was consistent with the intelligence which came in and that's currently being forensically examined.' It is believed the weapon was discarded around the time of the murder and had been missing until now. Det Insp Bloomfield revealed the new information had led to 10 officers working on the case, in comparison with some other cold cases which can have just one or two officers working on them.
But as important as the finding of the weapon could be, Det Insp Bloomfield insisted people living in the Great Yarmouth area still held the key to finding out who was responsible for Peter's death. He said: 'I believe the offender is from the Great Yarmouth area and there will be people still within that community who will be able to identify that individual.
'That's really where the focus of the investigation is – on the inhabitants of Great Yarmouth at that time. This has the potential to be an exciting time in the investigation, but we need the people of the community of Great Yarmouth to take us to the next level. We can't do it without the support of people who know what happened on this fateful day back in December 1984.
'People in Yarmouth still hold the key. The people of the Yarmouth area of the day, many of them are still there, a lot of communities from this time are less transient than they are now.
'I'm confident his peer group back in 1984 will have information that is yet to be made known to the police and they are the people I'm appealing to, to come forward and speak to us. There will be people out there who have shouldered this burden for 29 years thinking it will go away, but it will never go away, it needs to be resolved.' He added: 'I appeal directly to the person responsible for this, unburden yourself and contact Norfolk police in confidence.'
Police believe that someone who committed an offence of this graviity would have been involved in criminality before Peter's murder..
The motive for the killing is still something which officers are working to establish as part of their ongoing inquiries, however, there was no sign of a break-in at the house and the doors were unlocked at the time of Peter's death. Peter's brother reported a strange smell in the air when he entered the Camden Place property and a CS aerosol canister was found inside the house lying on the floor. It is believed that the canister had been used either by his murderer or Peter as he was being assaulted. Despite investigations in 1984 and 1985 and a number of arrests, no one was ever charged with the murder.
Several reviews failed to reveal further lines of enquiry until recently when fresh information was received and officers are now actively pursuing them.
Norfolk chief constable Phil Gormley has given his backing to the campaign. He said: 'We are fortunate to live in a place where violent crime is still viewed as extraordinary and shocking.
'However, when crimes of this nature do occur it's important we do all we can to solve them, to catch violent offenders and bring justice to long-suffering victims of crime and their families.
'Undetected crimes of this nature remain under constant review and I am very happy to support this fresh approach, which sees Norfolk Constabulary work to seek justice for victims and protect Norfolk's communities.'
Anyone with information regarding Peter Miller's death should contact the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.