A Date with Death; Girl Was Murdered in Knife Frenzy on Common as She Kept a Secret Liaison, Say Detectives

Daily Mail (London), September 9, 1997 | Go to article overview

A Date with Death; Girl Was Murdered in Knife Frenzy on Common as She Kept a Secret Liaison, Say Detectives


Byline: CHRIS BROOKE

A CHURCHGOING girl of 18 has been stabbed to death during a secret liaison on a remote common.

Devout Rachel Barraclough was knifed repeatedly by someone she knew and trusted, police said yesterday.

The shy teenager was last seen alive when she left her home to 'meet friends' in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on Friday night.

She was found 24 hours later by three men in dense grassland, 20 miles away in Wakefield.

Detective Superintendent John Holt, who yesterday appealed for information about Miss Barraclough's last hours, said: 'The offence was once of exceptional violence.

She suffered multiple stab wounds.' Scientific evidence suggested she was murdered where her body was found, fully-clothed and not hidden.

There was no evidence so far of a sexual attack but a number of 'defence wounds' showed that she had tried to fight off her killer.

Although the desolate area of grassland is popular with walkers and joggers, detectives believe it is so difficult to reach that she could not have been dragged or forced there without being noticed.

'It is unlikely she would have been at the point she was found on her own,' said Mr Holt. 'I believe she would have gone there with somebody she knew. It is so remote it is almost inconceivable that it was an abduction.

'The attacker would have run a great risk by taking her so far with her as an unwilling hostage.' He said the motive for the attack was not clear but warned: 'Anyone capable of murdering a defenceless 18-year-old girl has got to be a danger.' Miss Barraclough disappeared after taking a taxi to Bradford's central bus station from her home at 7.45pm on Friday. Her body was found at 9.10pm on Saturday but her handbag was missing and so she was not identified until hours later when her parents Hilary, 39, and Malcolm, 54, contacted police to say she was missing.

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