New tribute to murdered craft teacher

A Norfolk teacher who was murdered in France more than 20 years ago was remembered yesterday at the unveiling of a new memorial sundial. Former pupils and colleagues of Paul Bellion gathered at Rosemary Musker High School in Thetford to inaugurate the new monument to the craft and design teacher.

A Norfolk teacher who was murdered in France more than 20 years ago was remembered yesterday at the unveiling of a new memorial sundial.

Former pupils and colleagues of Paul Bellion gathered at Rosemary Musker High School in Thetford to inaugurate the new monument to the craft and design teacher.

The bodies of the 29-year-old and his fiancée, Lorraine Glasby, a design technology teacher at Diss High School, were found in a maize field in Brittany in October 1986, a month after they had been shot. French prosecutors decided to close the unsolved murder investigation in October last year.

PC Ray Kurn, safer schools partnership officer for Thetford's two high schools, who was taught by Mr Bellion at Rosemary Musker in 1985, helped inaugurate the sundial yesterday, along with past and present pupils, teachers, and governors.

The original memorial to the murdered teacher was unveiled in 1987, but fell into a state of disrepair and had been absent from the school's courtyard garden for the last ten years.

Martyn Strevens, head of design technology, who was Mr Bellion's head of department and made the replacement brass sundial to sit with the original 'Paul Bellion 1956-1986' plaque, said: "When we heard that the case had been closed last year, it refreshed the memory and we thought it would be nice for the next generation to remember the past.

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"Paul was an inspirational teacher. He was not tall, but he had a huge presence.

"He was only here for two years, but he is remembered with great fondness."

Mr Bellion and Miss Glasby had gone on a month-long cycling holiday a day after moving into their new home in Garboldisham, near Diss, in the summer of 1986, but failed to return to their schools at the start of the autumn term.

In October 1986, the couple were found naked from the waist up, tied back to back and gagged and both shot in the back of the neck.

Despite a high profile investigation, no progress was made and the case was closed in 1991. It was reopened in August 2005 following new evidence, but was dropped again in October.

His parents, Elizabeth and Douglas Bellion, who live in St Helens, near Liverpool, were unable to attend yesterday's ceremony, but have pledged to visit the memorial next time they are in Norfolk.

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