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Opinion: Do you have the key to solving Natalie's murder?

PUBLISHED: 07:29 23 November 2017

NORWICH MURDER VICTIM NATALIE PEARMAN  collect

NORWICH MURDER VICTIM NATALIE PEARMAN collect

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Opinion: Someone reading this might have the tiny scrap of information that unlocks the 25-year mystery of who killed Natalie Pearman, says Nick Conrad.

Growing up in North Norfolk I remember very well the sad story of April Fabb. Even though the Metton schoolgirl disappeared decades before I was born, the sadness and shock at the case still resonates with the local community. Sadly, many who knew April, or lived in the local area in 1969 have passed away. Many loved ones, including her parents, went to their grave never knowing what happened to their daughter. I find this so extremely troubling and upsetting – I’ve often thought of the Fabb family even though I’ve never met them.

This week we’ve marked another sad anniversary. A quarter of a century ago Natalie Pearman was murdered in Norwich, her killer has never been brought to justice. The teenager, who had been working as a prostitute in Norwich’s red light district, was found by a lorry driver at Ringland Hills at 3.50am on Thursday, November 20 1992. A post-mortem examination revealed she had died from asphyxiation. Her body was found in a lay-by near Norwich. Now, 25 years after that gruesome discovery, a fresh appeal has been launched to find the 16-year-old’s killer. Earlier this week Norfolk Constabulary indicated they were close to a ‘breakthrough’ which would identify the culprit.

I was heartened to read Monday’s anniversary coverage has prompted 15 calls including some new names. Norfolk’s chief constable Simon Bailey said he was ‘delighted’ with the new information that’s coming in. Mr Bailey said any bit of information anyone might have, no matter how small, could prove vital in helping to solve the case and getting justice for Natalie’s family.

They have the DNA profile of a man they believe is key to solving this murder. Though they are yet to find a match, the net is closing in on the perpetrator. Callers to my BBC Radio Norfolk Breakfast Show suggested legislation should be introduced to allow for a British DNA database. The idea was extremely popular. Callers argued that keeping records on file would be the greatest deterrent for criminals - the risk of being caught would be too great. Others suggested the ‘Orwellian 1984’-like system compromises privacy and could be open to abuse.

That debate aside, at the centre of this story is a family who deserve answers. Someone out there knows something or strongly suspects someone. I’m sure that plays heavily on their conscience. Now is the time to talk. All the police need is a name and they will do the rest - it is a simple matter of matching DNA.

The dark cloud of uncertainty over the disappearance of April Fabb is still present. Her family, endured years of suffering, questioning what happened on that fateful day. Not knowing must have been pure torture. Providing an answer to the Pearman family may offer some sort of comfort or closure. I appeal to anyone who knows anything to talk to the police.

If you believe you have information that could help solve this case, contact Norfolk police on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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