Police hope postcards can help solve 1984 Bristol murder
The brutal sexually-motivated murder of a mother-of-two 35 years ago could be a step closer to being solved following a breakthrough in the investigation.
Shelley Morgan, 33, was stabbed multiple times in a frenzied attack after dropping her children off at school in Bristol on June 11 1984.
Detectives from Avon and Somerset Police’s major crime review team believe two postcards may hold vital information to the identity of the killer.
The US-born art college student was heading towards Leigh Woods near Ashton Court, where she planned to spend the day sketching and taking photographs.
When she failed to pick her children up or return home to Dunkerry Road in Bedminster, the police were called and a missing person inquiry was launched.
Four months later, on October 14, children playing in a wooded copse off Long Lane in Backwell Hill discovered her remains.
A post-mortem examination concluded Mrs Morgan, who was married, had suffered multiple stab wounds and there was evidence the attack had been sexually motivated.
The tear-off postcards are from a calendar sold by the local Bristol Hospice charity in the 1980s or 1990s.
One is of a scene overlooking the River Avon in Bristol, taken from Bower Ashton – just below the Clifton Suspension Bridge – while the other is of St Andrew’s Church, from the direction of Backwell Hill.
Police said both locations are significant as they are linked to the areas where Mrs Morgan was heading for on the day she disappeared and where her body was found five months later.
Detective Sergeant Sarah Barnston said: “She left home that day intending to photograph and sketch in the Leigh Woods area, so it’s possible her work and the locations she was visiting that day hold the key to her killer’s identity.
“We remain of the belief that her killer must have had access to a vehicle and may have had links through work or other associations to Backwell and possibly the Leigh Woods or Clifton areas of Bristol.”
Mrs Morgan’s camera, a 35mm Olympus OM20 camera with serial number 1032853, has never been found.
“Shelley was carrying the camera, along with a tripod and sketching materials in a large patchwork-style shoulder bag,” said Det Sgt Barnston.
“This bag has never been found, nor has the clothing she was wearing, including red-framed glasses.
“Although there were numerous sightings of Shelley on the day she went missing, in both the Bristol and Backwell areas, none have been confirmed.”
The police said they were determined to solving Mrs Morgan’s murder and bring those responsible to justice.
“It’s impossible to imagine the pain and anguish Shelley’s family have felt over the years and understand the impact her murder has had on her two children, who’ve been left without a mother for the majority of their lives,” Ms Barnston said.
“I would urge anyone with information, no matter how small, to come forward. Loyalties and relationships change over time and there may be someone who didn’t feel able to speak to us at the time, but who may be in a position to do so now.”
Mrs Morgan’s sister Holle Brian said: “For 35 years I have watched the events of Shelley’s death pass by without her.
“It has been 35 years of silence and the life she didn’t get to live.
“As long as we carry Shelley in our hearts she will always be with us. We are getting older and the time will come when all the doors are closed.
“We beseech you if you know anything about that day back in June 1984. Please come to the police; maybe you were afraid to speak out at the time; maybe your situation has changed.
“Out of love and respect to my sister we really want to know what happened and be sure that the person that killed her will never hurt anybody ever again.”