Public report Crimewatch reconstruction actor after renewed police appeal into 21-year-old murder
Police take DNA of Steve Watson as part of probe into killing of nursery school teacher
A man who played the role of a suspected murderer in a BBC Crimewatch reconstruction was himself reported to police by members of the public who accused him of being the killer.
Steve Watson appeared in a 1994 reconstruction of the murder of Julie Pacey in Lincolnshire in England in the same year.
The reconstruction was repeated again this year as part of a police reconstruction in a renewed attempt to catch those responsible.
Mr Watson, 31 at the time, lived 15 miles away from the incident and bore a resemblance to a distinctive tall man who wore a blue boiler suit and who police wanted to trace.
Following this year's re-screening of the appeal, police visited the 53-year-old and took DNA samples after the public reported him as bearing a resemblance to the suspected killer.
The BBC has apologised and said it did attempt to track down Mr Watson in order to tell him the film was to be repeated.
Mr Watson, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, said he answered a BBC ad to play the part in 1994.
"[My face] was on the screen for too long and even then, people in the street said, 'Oh, is that that murderer?'" he said.
"To hear those words you think, 'Please, it's just a reconstruction, surely you understand', but unfortunately they don't."
Despite telling police he was the actor, Mr Watson is yet to be told he is no longer a suspect.
"I'm in limbo, it's ridiculous," he said.
Det Insp Helen Evans told the BBC it would be "remiss not to thoroughly investigate every solid piece of information" and he will be given an update "in due course".
Mr Watson said Crimewatch did a fantastic job but actors should be warned they could be called on by the police.
A BBC spokesman said it tried to contact Mr Watson about re-airing the appeal but his details were not in their records.
"We understand he has not been arrested and is not a suspect in the inquiry, and hope the re-appeal can assist the police in finding Julie Pacey's murderer," he added.
Julie Pacey was murdered in her Grantham home in 1994, but her killer has never been found.
The 38-year-old nursery school worker was strangled and sexually assaulted before being found dead in the bathroom of her home in Grantham, Lincolnshire, by her 14-year-old daughter.
Belfast Telegraph Digital