An anonymous letter sent to a weekly newspaper in the West Midlands could hold the key to catching a murderer.
Police are currently hunting the killer of 77-year-old retired teacher Betty Yates at her isolated riverside home at Bewdley.
A letter sent to the editor of the Kidderminster Shuttle contains what police believe may be vital information about the case, which will be featured on tonight’s BBC Crimewatch programme.
The existence of the letter is revealed in today’s edition of the Shuttle in a front-page story headlined: “Does this letter hold the key to finding Betty’s killer?”
The letter, typed on a computer, arrived by second class post at the newspaper’s Blackwell Street office on Wednesday last week.
It was immediately handed to police, who have opened up what they say are “important” new lines of inquiry based on information it provided.
Shuttle editor Clive Joyce told HTFP: “There was never any doubt that the first thing we had to do was to give the letter to the police.
“There was sufficient detail in this letter for us to believe that to publish it would hamper the police’s efforts to find the killer.”
Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, who is leading the murder hunt, believes the letter sent to the Shuttle could have come from a reader who lives in the area and has local knowledge which could prove vital to solving the “horrendous murder”
He said: “The letter has provided an important line of inquiry for us which we are following up but we would really like to discuss the detail in it with the person who wrote it to establish how they came by that information and what else they know.”
Police investigators are examining the letter alongside another anonymous letter, which was posted to Bewdley Police Station on Monday last week.
Detectives believe the letters were written by two separate third parties, rather than those responsible for the brutal murder of the 77-year-old widow in her isolated riverside home at Bewdley.
Mrs Yates’ body was found at the foot of her stairs at Riverscroft, her remote cottage at the end of a track off Dowles Road, on the morning of Wednesday, January 4.
She had been beaten with her own walking stick before being knifed in the neck during a violent attack which, police believe, took place on Bank Holiday Monday, January 2.