Fresh claim in Wendy Sewell murder case

The unknown killer of Wendy Sewell in Bakewell Cemetery in 1973 may have murdered a teenager earlier that year, according to a new book.

Crime writer Scott Lomax – who makes the claim in his book Unsolved Murders In And Around Derbyshire – wants detectives to probe a link between Mrs Sewell's murder and the killing of 14-year-old Judith Roberts in Tamworth in 1972.

Bakewell man Stephen Downing served 27 years in prison for Mrs Sewell's murder.

His conviction was quashed in 2002 after a campaign led by former Mercury editor Don Hale, who argued whoever killed Mrs Sewell also raped and killed hitchhiker Barbara Mayo near Glapwell in 1970.

But Mr Lomax, from Brimington, said: "I do not believe Wendy was killed by Barbara Mayo's murderer.

"Whilst there are some similarities there are also major differences.

"I believe police should be looking at a link between the murders of Wendy Sewell and Judith Roberts.

"Both women were struck repeatedly around the head and both women were partially stripped, but no evidence of sexual assault was present in either case."

Andrew Evans was convicted of Judith Roberts' murder, before the Court of Appeal ruled his confession was unreliable and cleared him.

Mr Lomax added: "The police never considered a link at the time because by the time of Wendy Sewell's murder, Andrew Evans was in prison having confessed to Judith Roberts' death.

"But like Stephen Downing, he had given a confession for a crime he did not commit. I believe the police should now be looking at whether there are two killers in these cases or just one man who has so far evaded justice."

Derbyshire Constabulary's Operation Noble reinvestigated the murder after Mr Downing's release, but none of the 22 other suspects were charged.

No-one from Derbyshire Constabulary was available to comment on Mr Lomax's claims.