Thirty murders across the Bradford district – dating back 40 years – remain unsolved, West Yorkshire Police have revealed.
The undetected cases are among 70 across the county, with Bradford having the highest number of homicides where the killer has yet to be brought to justice.
They include recent high profile murder cases like Clement Desmier, beaten to death at his Greengates home, to the 1975 murder of lovelorn Renee McGowan.
Also undetected are the horrific murders of Doris Kellett, 92, clubbed to death at her home opposite Cleckheaton police station in January 1990; Sajid Saddique, who vanished on Valentine’s Day 2007, from the Asda car park at Shipley; 16-year-old Yasser Nazir, shot twice in the head on a petrol station forecourt in 2001; and Rebecca Hall, 19, battered and dumped naked in an alleyway in Bradford’s red light district 13 years ago.
All the murders remained unsolved as of the end of February this year, according to a Freedom of Information request.
But despite the figures, senior officers insist there has been a big drop in murders in West Yorkshire, and that more than nine out of ten killings were being solved.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fountain, who leads West Yorkshire Police’s Major Investigation Review Team, said: “West Yorkshire Police has seen a significant decline in the number of murders over the past two years.
“It is a fact that the overwhelming majority of murders in Bradford and West Yorkshire as a whole are solved. In the last 12 months up to March 2014 the force’s detection rate was 92 per cent.
“This, together with our work in other policing areas, such as safeguarding and offender management, has contributed to the recent reductions.
“Each case is led by a Senior Investigating Officer and is investigated according to its individual circumstances.
“Evidence from unsolved murders is reviewed regularly, in light of new information and advances in forensic science.
“A crime may be unsolved for a number of reasons and these cases are never closed as there is no time limit on justice.
“This approach has led to successes, such as the murder of Wendy Speakes, which was solved many years after it was committed.
“There are also cases such as those of Sajid Saddique, where suspects have been arrested and bailed pending further inquiries; or where we have identified suspects who may be out of the country and who we are actively pursuing.
“We realise that the impact of a murder on the victim’s family never goes away and we keep them fully informed of any developments.”
The thirty cases include:
Jan Mohammed: The 63-year-old grandfather and unemployed widower was hit eight times on the head with a blunt instrument while he slept on the sofa at his locked house in Farcliffe Terrace, Manningham, on December 21, 1990. In August 1997, a coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing in relation to Mr Mohammed’s death.
Doris Kellett: The 92-year-old widow was clubbed to death in her own home on Wesley Street, Cleckheaton, on January 17, 1990. Her house was 20 yards from a police station. She was hit over the head with a blunt instrument and died from a fractured skull. Money and a ring were stolen from her house during the attack, said police.
Parvez Akhtar: The body of the 25-year-old restaurant owner was found on the back seat of his car by a boy on January 12, 1986. The grim discovery was made on Fairbank Road, Girlington. He had been strangled and had his throat cut. Mr Akhtar, who was co-owner of the Mehraan Restaurant in Duckworth Lane, was last seen alive earlier that day when he left the restaurant to take staff home.
James Adams: The 46-year-old bar worker was stabbed 22 times in a public toilet in Manningham on May 26, 1981. The bespectacled knifeman left a mile-long trail of his own blood from the murder scene but was never caught. Mr Adams, a former Telegraph & Argus newspaper vendor, was killed as he made his way home from working at the New Beehive pub on Westgate, Manningham. The public toilets where he was murdered were at the junction of Carlisle Road and Bavaria Place.
Brendan Penn: The 22-year-old father-of-three girls was stabbed through the heart after inadvertently getting caught up in a midnight streetfight as he went to visit friends on Cecil Avenue, Great Horton. A dark saloon car with three men in it was seen speeding down Horton Park Avenue, Great Horton, after the attack on August 15, 1991. Mr Penn, of St Mary’s Crescent, Wyke, died from a single stab wound to the chest.
Ferzana Kauser: The 18-year-old was found strangled in the lounge of her sister’s home in Barkerend, Bradford, after a family get-together in August 1992. Police believe married Ferzana, whose husband was in Pakistan at the time, knew her killer. A coroner claimed Bradford-born Ferzana, of Maudsley Street, may have been killed because she had brought shame on her family by having “an association” with a married man despite having a husband.
Yvonne Fitt: The decomposing body of the Bradford prostitute was found in a shallow grave at Norwood Edge, near Otley, in September 1992 - four months after it was thought to have been buried there. The 33-year-old, of Manningham, had died from multiple stab wounds and detectives had to use medical records and X-rays to identify the body.
Renee McGowan: The frail divorcee was murdered in her 14th-floor flat in Evans Towers, off Manchester Road, Bradford, on July 23, 1975. She was found strangled, partly clothed, with her wrists tied behind her back. Police said the 55-year-old was very careful about who she let into her flat, which had a tightly-bolted door and a spyhole. Even regular callers had to give a coded knock.
Cherie Bendig: The 28-year-old mother-of-one was found dead in the bedroom of the home she shared with her partner Paul Dewhirst in Smith House Avenue, Brighouse, in January 2006. An inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard that Miss Bendig died from internal bleeding caused by a blow to her chest which ruptured her spleen. A detective told the inquest that it was likely Dewhirst struck the fatal blow that killed her. Dewhirst was jailed for five years in 2006 at Bradford Crown Court for previous violent attacks on Miss Bendig.
Mark McCall: The 37-year-old drugs baron was shot dead at point-blank range in Pudsey in November 2003. He was walking with his girlfriend through a dark alley between Westdale Drive and Westdale Road. A red Volkswagen Golf, which had been stolen two nights before the murder, and which was used by the killer, was abandoned and set on fire. Witnesses said two men had been seen in the vehicle at the time of McCall’s murder.
Robert Dean: The 47-year-old keen angler was found floating in a mill pond at Whetley Mills, off Thornton Road, Girlington, in April 2006. A coroner ruled his death was an accident and said he believed Mr Dean, who had learning difficulties, had slipped and fallen into the pond and been unable to get out. But in October 2009, police re-opened the investigation into Mr Dean’s death after “fresh information” came to light.
Manzoor Begum: In October 2010, police were called to a bloodied scene at a house in Salt Street, Manningham, where they also found furniture upturned. Mrs Begum, 80, and her husband of more than 60 years, Ali Mohammed Sher, had lived there happily together for more than 25 years. The alarm was raised by one of their sons who found his mother unconscious and bleeding downstairs, while his father sat injured nearby on a sofa. An inquest heard Mr Sher had allegedly told family his wife had tried to hit him with an ornament, and that he had hit her back and thought he had killed her. Mrs Begum suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of blood loss and died at the scene. Mr Sher, who was initially arrested on suspicion of murder, was in hospital for seven weeks with his injuries and was never well enough to tell police what happened. Suffering from dementia, he died nine months later.
Sultan Mahmood: The 30-year-old taxi driver was found stabbed and burned almost beyond recognition on wasteland in Dryden Street, just off Wakefield Road, Bradford, in February 1979. The ferocious attack stunned officers. A man stood trial for the murder but was acquitted by a jury in 1983.
Paul Brannan: A June 2008 inquest ruled Mr Brannan, 48, of Rochester Street, Windhill, Shipley, died of a heart attack a few hours after being hit with a bottle by a 16-year-old girl in late January 2007. The blow caused a haemorrhage which led to a major blockage in an artery. Police are still investigating the circumstances behind his death.
Dean Holmes: Blood was found splattered throughout the 38-year-old’s home on Runswick Grove, Odsal, where he lived with partner Janet Higgins. A coroner decided Mr Holmes’ death was not accidental and recorded an open verdict so police could resume investigations if new evidence came to light. Miss Higgins admitted the couple had a violent relationship and that at times she was the aggressor. A post mortem showed it had been a fresh massive brain haemorrhage that killed Mr Holmes on top of an old scarred bleed.
Cherie Melgram: The 24-year-old mother-of-two was found lying near the fireplace in her home in St Leonard’s Road, Girlington, on July 20, 2001. She was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary but pronounced dead on arrival. A post mortem failed to establish a cause of death.
Steve Thorpe: The 43-year-old died from injuries sustained after he was assaulted in his home on Brunswick Road, Greengates, Bradford, in the middle of August 2003.
Denise Clough and Mark McCafferty: The 38-year-old mother-of-four and her six-year-old son died after a fierce fire at their house in Holme Wood, Bradford. They were dragged from their home on Broadstone Way in the early hours of April 8, 2003 and were taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary, but were dead on arrival. An open verdict on their deaths was recorded at an inquest in November 2003. But investigators said they couldn’t rule out that the blaze was started by a discarded cigarette or an arson attack.
Nobantu Zani: The branch-covered body of the 15-year-old, who was known as Mandy to schoolmates at Buttershaw Upper School, was found at Druid’s Altar on Harden Moor, Bingley, on September 30, 1995. She had been strangled with her own scarf. Mandy lived at Dirkhill Street, Great Horton. Police found that she lived a double life as she frequented cafes and amusement arcades in the red light area of Manningham. Forensic evidence suggested she died about 13 or 14 days before her body was found.
James Tomlin: The 36-year-old engineer was killed in an arson attack on his home in Prospect Grove, Windhill, on August 15, 2005. Mr Tomlin jumped from a bedroom window into the backyard in an attempt to escape but suffered a cardiac arrest outside the house. A post mortem revealed that the inhalation of smoke and fire gases killed him. The blaze started at about 4.25am when someone poured flammable material through the letterbox. In May 2012, following an inquest into Mr Tomlin’s death, police issued a re-appeal for information about the murder.
Yasser Nazir: The 16-year-old was shot twice in the head at point-blank range, in broad daylight, as he drove a white Vauxhall Astra into a petrol station on Haworth Road, Chellow Heights, on September 5, 2001. Yasser’s execution sparked a six-month trail of gun violence around Keighley – where he lived with his family – and resulted in the deaths of three other young Asian men. Fifteen people were arrested and questioned about the murder but nobody has been charged.
Rebecca Hall: The naked and badly-beaten body of the 19-year-old prostitute was found in an alleyway off Thornton Street, Bradford, on April 26, 2001. She had last been seen 13 days earlier - Good Friday - leaving her flat in Little Horton in clothes that were found nearby her body. Police believe she was killed on the day she was last seen – April 13. 2001. Rebecca had a four-month-old son.
Sajid Saddique: The married father-of-three vanished on Valentine’s Day 2007 after attending a business meeting in Shipley. His gold-coloured Volkswagen Bora car was found later that day by his family, parked in the Asda car park in Manor Road. Two men arrested on suspicion of murdering Mr Saddique were released on bail in February this year after being questioned by detectives.
Brain Hardwick: On November 22, 2001, the father-of-two from Wibsey was found dead at his workplace, Huddersfield Car Electricals on Colne Road. The previous day, Mr Hardwick had been gunned down at the workplace and robbed of his wallet, purse, pendant and chain. Workmates had seen him washing his hands ready to leave, but he later took his vehicle back to change a flat tyre. He died from two gunshot wounds.
Clement Desmier: The 68-year-old father-of-six and grandfather-of-ten was viciously attacked at his home in Rowle-stone Rise, Green-gates. He was found dead in his armchair on Thursday, August 23, 2012. He had a pillow over his head and had suffered 70 separate injuries, including 40 stab wounds, and had been tortured before he was killed. An appeal for help in catching his killers was broadcast on Crimewatch.
Sana Abbasi: The 22-year-old, of Hendford Drive, Pollard Park, died in Bradford Royal Infirmary in July 2009 where she had been detained with an unexplained illness following the birth of her daughter. Detectives believe she was poisoned. Her husband and mother-in-law were arrested on suspicion of murder later the same year, but no-one has ever been charged in connection with her death.
Michael Towler: The former postman was stabbed to death in a frenzied attack with a long-bladed knife in his home in Holly Street, Horton Bank Top, in August 1992. By August 1993, police had interviewed more than 900 people and taken more than 200 statements, but had found insufficient evidence to charge anyone with the 57-year-old’s murder.
Mohammed Basharat: The family man, 33, of Leylands Lane, Heaton, died in an execution-style killing when he was shot twice in the head on October 20, 2001 by a hooded lone gunman who burst into the office of Little Horton Taxis where he worked. It is believed the killing was as a result of the road-rage incident the previous day in Park Lane, Little Horton. A gunman serving a substantial jail sentence in the USA for a shooting in New York was, in 2011, named by police as a person of “significant” interest in the Basharat case.
Sana Iqbal: The seven-month-old Bradford girl’s parents, Zafar and Nasreen Iqbal, claimed their daughter died after falling out of bed at their Waverley Road home in Horton Grange and banging her head, on May 21, 1998.
However, an inquest heard that 60 people, most of them in the medical profession, had concluded that the tot’s serious head injuries were “non-accidental in nature”.
In recording a verdict of unlawful killing on Sana, Bradford coroner Roger Whittaker said someone in the court knew who killed the baby.
The inquest had previously heard that Sana may have been swung against a wall.