POLICE have charged a man with murder in connection with a death in Bradford more than 20 years ago.

Raymond Kay, aged 70, of Baker Fold, Halifax, has been charged with the murder of pensioner Amy Shepherd.

Amy, who was 86, was found dead at her home in Wibsey in August 1994.

Kay was due to appear at Bradford Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

Miss Shepherd had been found in her lounge at the Folly Hall Gardens residential complex on August 2, 1994.

The pensioner had lived alone in the ground-floor flat for 14 years.

Miss Shepherd, a well-known figure in the Wibsey community, was secretary to the managing director at Baildon dyers and finishers William Denby and Son before her retirement.

A post mortem revealed that she had been strangled, stabbed and sexually assaulted. She died from serious head injuries.

Police re-opened the case in 1998 and issued a renewed appeal for information to find her killer.

An incident room was set up at Bradford Central police station, with a team of ten detectives using DNA and computer techniques.

After Miss Shepherd’s death, a murder inquiry was launched and detectives carried out house-to-house inquiries in the area. More than 1,000 people were interviewed and 278 statements taken.

Miss Shepherd was described as a kind, frail, likeable and independent woman.

Friend and neighbour Vera Leddy, 83, said: “I wish someone could be caught for doing this to Amy. She was a very proud, kind and popular person. Unfortunately she was too trusting and would let people into her home.”

Detectives who investigated Miss Shepherd’s death also examined the possibility that it could be linked with the murder of 80-year-old widow Mary Kilbride.

Richard Whelan, 22, of Sunny Bank Avenue, Bankfoot, Bradford, was jailed for life after he stabbed, strangled and punched Mrs Kilbride to her death in August 1994.

During his trial in 1995 the court heard how Whelan had also been quizzed by detectives about the murder of Miss Shepherd.

But in 2000 at a subsequent trial, he was cleared of her brutal attack after denying murdering her.

The case against Whelan ended when the jury was directed by the judge to deliver a verdict of not guilty.

Judge Mr Justice Nelson said the facts did not constitute a “hallmark or signature” of the killer and therefore the evidence of Mrs Kilbride’s killing was inadmissible.

After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Mick Fields, of Bradford Central police, said that the investigation into Miss Shepherd’s death would carry on, as it had done over the past five years.