'New and significant' evidence emerges 30 years after canal murder

·3-min read
Carol, 32, was last seen getting into a car in the Montpelier area of Bristol where she lived at about 11.30pm on Friday March 26 in 1993
Carol, 32, was last seen getting into a car in the Montpelier area of Bristol where she lived at about 11.30pm on Friday March 26 in 1993

Police have reopened the case of a woman murdered 30 years ago following "new and significant" information.

Carol Clark, 32, was last seen getting into a car in the Montpelier area of Bristol where she lived at about 11.30pm on Friday March 26 in 1993.

She was wearing a black baseball cap, brown leather jacket, blue denim mini skirt, black polo necked jumper and plain blue t-shirt at the time.

A dog walker discovered her body in reeds and undergrowth close to the water at Sharpness Docks on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal two days later, on Sunday March 28. She had been strangled and her neck was broken.

Gloucestershire Police launched a large-scale murder investigation after Ms Clark's body was found but despite extensive enquiries and reviews of the case, the murderer has remained at large.

However, officers working as part of the South West major crime investigation team have now received information they say could unlock the case.

Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Usher said: "I have received new and significant information about this case and while I cannot say more at the moment without putting inquiries at risk, it is an encouraging development and one which has all my officers more determined than ever to find Carol's murderer.

Close-knit community

"But I still need the public's help. Carol lived and worked in a very close-knit community, and it's likely that some people with information about what happened to her remained silent, perhaps through fear or misplaced loyalty.

"In the time that's passed since, allegiances and loyalties will have changed, though, so I'm asking those people to search their consciences once again, 30 years after her death, to look at her photo, to think about the impact this continues to have on her loved ones and help bring the culprit to justice.

"I still want information from anyone who may have seen something near the spot where Carol was found to come forward if they recall anything.

"The location was overlooked by the Severn Way and on the weekend Carol was found it was the 200th anniversary celebrations of the British Waterways, so it would have been very busy, with foreign-registered vessels in the dock.

"Maybe you were there at the time but travelled back home without hearing about the case until now. Whatever the reason, if you were there and now recall something please report it.

Inspector Murdock spoke of the complications caused by Ms Clark's "complex lifestyle" which involved using several aliases - Kate, Caroline and Charlotte - and keeping a flat in Bath as well as the Montpellier home she shared with boyfriend Brian Clarke.

She was dependent on the heroin substitute drug, methadone. Her lifestyle included strong connections in the Wiltshire area and a male friend in Clifton, Bristol.

Her address books, found at several locations, had led to detectives interviewing numerous past clients, said inspector Murdock.

He told the coroner that police had established that Carol was last seen alive at 12.15am on the day of her death. She was seen near her home in a well known prostitutes location talking to the driver of a light coloured car - possibly a Peugeot 405.

Her boyfriend told police he rang her at their flat at 12.40am when he was at a city centre night club in Bristol.

She told him she was cold, tired and hungry and asked him to bring home a kebab, he stated.

In a statement released by police, Ms Clark's family said: "We are aware that the investigation into Carol's death is being reopened based on new evidence and that new inquiries are being pursued.

"We hope that this investigation will allow us some closure.

"We are being updated by police family liaison officers and ask for our privacy to be respected at this time."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the force on 101 or online, quoting incident 264 of March 27.