South Yorkshire Police investigating unsolved Rotherham murder suspect child killer

Will Worley
Police tape

A child killer dubbed the 'Beast of Wombwell' is now a potential suspect in South Yorkshire's oldest unsolved murder case. Peter Pickering killed Shirley Ann Boldy, 14, in 1972 and was recently arrested by detectives investigating the case of Elsie Frost, 14, who was murdered in 1965.

Now, investigators believe Pickering could be linked to the murder of Anne Dunwell. She was 13 when she was raped and then strangled with her own underwear while walking to her home in Whiston, Rotherham in 1964. Her body was found dumped next to a pile of manure and her clothes later recovered from nearby Utley Resevoir.

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"Peter Pickering is obviously of interest. He is potentially a serial killer," Detective Chief Inspector Dave Stopford of South Yorkshire Police told The Sunday Times. "He does have links to South Yorkshire and the offences he's committed are ones of a similar nature."

The force is carrying out a review of the case using new technology to analyse DNA connected to the killing.

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Stopford added: "We have a vast number of case papers in hand. I need to look through to see why he was ruled out by the previous investigation."

elsie frost

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The case, which will 52 years-old in May, has caused Dunwell's family significant grief. On the 50-year anniversary in 2014, her sister, Irene Hall, told of how her parents had died without seeing their daughter's killer brought to justice.

"My father always wanted to know who could do such a thing before he passed away, but he never got to know," Hall told the Yorkshire Post. "I'd like to see the killer brought to justice too, but I'm not getting any younger. If I don't, then the burden will fall to my children."

She added: "My family and I have been robbed of watching Anne grow up, get married and have children. We are only left with the memories of a happy young girl who did not deserve to be taken from us at such a young age and the question: 'Why? Why did this have to happen to Anne?'

"People often speak about time being a healer. But I can honestly say after 50 years have passed that time does not heal. You learn to live with the pain and heartache but it never goes away. Each and every day, I think about Anne and ask the question, 'What did happen on that terrible night?' But somebody does know."

DCI Stopford said he will be alerting the investigators of the Frost murder to his suspicions over Pickering's connection to Dunwell's death.

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