Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Call to revisit Billie-Jo murder

The foster-father of schoolgirl Billie-Jo Jenkins who was killed in 1997 is calling on police to reopen her murder case
Sion Jenkins, the foster-father of Billie-Jo, said he was not 'pointing the finger' at anyone in his calls to reopen the case

The foster-father of murdered schoolgirl Billie-Jo Jenkins has said he was not "pointing the finger" at anyone after calls for police to reopen the investigation into her killing 15 years ago.

Sion Jenkins, 54, who was cleared of murdering the 13-year-old after spending six years in jail, claimed there was a reluctance by officers to look again at the case files. The former deputy headteacher said he believes the answer to bringing her killer to justice lies within the tens of thousands of sheets of evidence collected by police.

His call for a re-examination of the case came after Billie-Jo's aunt, Margaret Coster, reportedly demanded that Sussex Police look at the movements of M25 rapist Antoni Imiela in connection with the case.

But Mr Jenkins told ITV's Daybreak: "I'm not simply pointing the finger at that individual or actually anyone. My concern has always been that the evidence that has been collected, tens of thousands of sheets of paper and evidence, and I believe that the key somewhere to opening the case is actually there, and I want that to actually be looked at."

Sussex Police said they are not linking Imiela with any inquiry and there are no plans to reopen the Billie-Jo investigation without any new lines to examine. Mr Jenkins added: "It has been a struggle with Sussex Police to get them to reopen the case and consider what should be done if that case is reopened."

He claimed that many people had come forward with information that should be examined by the police. Billie-Jo was found in a pool of blood with head injuries inflicted by a metal tent peg on the patio of the Jenkins family's large Victorian home in Lower Park Road, Hastings, East Sussex, on February 15 1997.

Mr Jenkins, at the time headteacher-designate at an all-boys school in Hastings, maintained his innocence and insisted Billie-Jo must have been killed by an intruder while he visited a DIY store. In 1998 he was convicted at Lewes Crown Court of murdering her and jailed for life, but he had a retrial in 2005 after appealing successfully.

The jury failed to agree a verdict then and a second retrial ended the same way in 2006, allowing him to walk free.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "We keep undetected offences under regular review but at this time we are not linking any to Antoni Imiela. In regard to Billie-Jo's death, without any new lines of inquiry there are no plans to reopen the investigation.

"As with any such case, we are always keen to hear from anyone who may have some new information which may lead to a new line of inquiry."

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