By Harry Mottram: The unsolved murder of 25-year-old Melanie Hall was featured in a TV documentary last week in which it was hoped new evidence would emerge after her disappearance in 1996.
The documentary, which featured interviews with Melanie’s father Steve and sister Dominique, as well as Senior Investigating Officer Supt James Riccio, was on Channel 5 on Thursday 28 September.
The Police said the last confirmed sighting of Melanie, who worked as a clerical worker at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, was at 1.10am on Sunday 9 June,1996, sitting on a stool at the edge of the dancefloor in Cadillacs nightclub (now Walcot House) in Walcot Street, Bath, following a night out with friends.
Many people will recall the horror of her disappearance and the shock when her remains were found next to the northbound slip road of the M5 at junction 14 (Thornbury) by a workman on 5 October 2009 some 13 years after she vanished.
In the documentary, Melanie’s family spoke about the terrible impact her disappearance had on them, with the belief there are people out there who know who’s responsible for her murder.
A clip from the documentary is below
Supt James Riccio, who is leading the investigation into Melanie’s murder, said he hoped the now documentary would trigger memories and prick consciences, encouraging those with information to contact the police today.
He said: “Just one small piece of information could solve this case and help us uncover the truth about what happened to Melanie that night.
“My team and I continue to be humbled by the courage, bravery and support that Melanie’s family have shown over the years and we desperately want to find answers for them.
“We will always be led by the evidence but based on the information we have amassed and meticulously reviewed, based on the 6,000 plus investigative actions, 2,000 statements, the accounts, the intelligence, the deposition location, I’m of the belief that Melanie did know her killer.
“An E-fit was released as part of a public appeal back in 1996 of a man seen inside Cadillacs nightclub with a woman matching Melanie’s description (see image below). This is still very much a focus of our appeal to the public today and we want to know who this man is.
“We’d also like information about an unconfirmed sighting of a woman, potentially matching Melanie’s description, who was engaged in an argument with a man in Old Orchard, around the corner from the nightclub entrance, between 1.45am and 2am. We don’t know whether this was Melanie, so if anyone has further details which could help on this aspect, please call us.
“I want members of the public to come forward if they recognise the individual in the E-fit. If you look at it and think ‘actually I know someone who was in Cadillacs that night’, or if you know someone who was watching the Euro 96 England vs Switzerland football game in Bath that evening, or if you think it’s someone who may have known Melanie, now is the time to get in touch.
“We suspect that whoever has done this has told someone, and allegiances alter over the decades. Someone knows who killed Melanie and someone knows how she ended up at the side of the M5 at junction 14, and these dark secrets need to be brought into the light.
“We have a number of enquiries we’re pursuing. It’s very much an active case, and there may be more related operational activity in the near future.”
Key appeal points
- Do you know the man in the E-fit? He’s described as white, in his mid to late twenties, 5ft 10ins, of medium build, with dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, bushy eyebrows and clean shaven. He was wearing black trousers, black shoes and a brown silk shirt. It’s possible he had a gold hooped earring in his right ear and wore a flashy gold watch. Do you recognise this man?
- We have an unconfirmed sighting of a woman arguing with a man in Old Orchard (around the corner from the nightclub’s entrance) between 1.45am and 2am – we haven’t ruled out the fact this could have been Melanie – so if this was you, or you have any further information about this, we’d like to hear from you.
- Were you involved in the aftermath of this crime in any way? Maybe you assisted with the deposition of Melanie’s body but were not involved in the murder. We want to hear from you now.
- Were you in Cadillacs nightclub that night? It was the evening where England drew 1-1 with Switzerland in the opening game of the football Euro 96 Championships? If you were there and haven’t spoken to police, please call us.
- Did you see any suspicious activity or a vehicle parked on the northbound J14 slip road of the M5 at Thornbury in the early hours of Sunday 9 June 1996, or the days immediately afterwards?
- Are you concerned about the change in behaviour of a friend or relative, or anyone showing a particular interest in this inquiry?
- Do you have information on where Melanie’s clothing or belongings may be? They’ve never been found. They include a pale blue silk dress with a round neck, black suede mule shoes with straps across the front and an open toe, size 5 or 6, a cream single-breasted, long-sleeved jacket and a black satchel-type handbag.
- In Melanie’s handbag were cosmetics and a Midland cheque book and bank card. Also missing are items of jewellery including a Next watch with expanding bracelet and silver drop earrings. Where are these items? Have you ever seen them?
How to contact the Police
You can also contact the Police with information via 101. Please inform the call handler you are calling about the Major Crime Investigation Team’s Operation Denmark inquiry.
Or, you can provide information anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers, which can be contacted on 0800 555 111. They never ask for your name or trace your call. You can also visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org