Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Search; Milly's Murderer Could Have Been Behind Deaths of Other Lone Women

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Search; Milly's Murderer Could Have Been Behind Deaths of Other Lone Women

Article excerpt


DETECTIVES investigating the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell are examining hundreds of other cases involving lone women victims, the Standard can reveal today.

Police fear the same man may also be behind the murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler - and perhaps dozens more attacks.

The development came as detectives involved in the inquiry into Miss Delagrange's murder released details of a deliberate hit-and-run attack on a convent school head girl.

The attempted murder of 18-year-old Kate Sheedy in Isleworth last May is the seventh attack to be linked to 22-year-old Miss Delagrange's killing.

The driver ran down the schoolgirl as she walked home, ramming her from behind before reversing over her body, leaving her for dead.

Detectives now believe the attack was part of a series of at least eight assaults dating back two years - three murders and five attempted murders.

Police are checking hundreds of cases of attacks on lone women, including a number of incidents which have been classified as road traffic accidents.

One source said: "There is a huge list of cases. We are talking tens, perhaps hundreds. There is a considerable amount of work that needs to be done."

Scotland Yard has launched a massive inquiry into the linked cases involving about 60 detectives and civil staff.

The inquiry, codenamed Operation Yeaddiss, is examining the theory that a single suspect committed the murders of Miss Delagrange and gap year student Marsha McDonnell, 19, who was killed as she walked home in Hampton Wick in February 2003. Four other attempted murders of women walking home alone are also being linked.

A man previously arrested and detained in a mental hospital in connection with Miss McDonnell's murder is no longer a suspect.

The news that the hit-and-run attack is being linked to Miss Delagrange's murder comes a day after Surrey Police announced they were examining possible links between Operation Yeaddiss and the hunt for the killer of Milly Dowler, 13, who disappeared as she walked home from school in Walton-on-Thames in March 2002. Her body was found in Hampshire woodland six months later. Police are considering a joint inquiry involving both forces.

In each of the attacks in London the assailant pounced from behind on women with blonde or light brown shoulder-length hair who were walking alone in the evening.

Some of the victims, notably Miss Dowler and Miss Sheedy, bear remarkable physical similarities.

Detectives today issued an urgent plea for help in connection with the investigation into Miss Sheedy's attempted murder. They have suspected the attack may be part of the Yeaddiss series for several months, but the suspicion deepened in recent weeks after developments in the inquiry. …

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