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Sally McGrath murder: Story that shocked Peterborough

An Evening Telegraph front page with a plea from Sally McGrath's mother Christina asking for Sally's killer to own up.

An Evening Telegraph front page with a plea from Sally McGrath's mother Christina asking for Sally's killer to own up.

 

THE tragic death of Sally McGrath is one of Peterborough’s longest running mysteries and sparked a huge investigation in the 1980s.

More than 3,000 people were interviewed during the exhausting investigation by a murder squad based at Peterborough’s Thorpe Wood police station, who took 10,000 statements but made no arrests.

Interpol were also drawn in to quiz servicemen in North America who were based at the American airforce base at RAF Alconbury that summer.

Miss McGrath was last seen in Cathedral Square at 2.45pm on July 11 1979, after telling friends at The Bull Hotel she was heading to the unemployment office on Church Street.

After her disappearance police began a missing person’s investigation and a team of 50 people worked around the clock to try to track her down.

Mum Christina toured the streets with a picture of her missing daughter to ask for any help, and even went to see a spiritualist to ask for help.

The police appeal included new computer technology to superimpose Miss McGrath’s head onto a photo of a female officer in the clothes she wore on the night out.

The search became a murder hunt on March 1, 1980, when Miss McGrath’s badly decomposed body was found by gamekeeper Keith Dickenson while hunting rabbits. The corpse was partly hidden in dense woodland near Castor and Ailsworth.

A post-mortem found her body had been there for between three and six months and she had suffered two head fractures and a broken nose. Police with tracker dogs and frogmen searched woodland and ponds near Peterborough, but were unable to discover any new clues.

 
 
 

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