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Killer Tobin's Norfolk links probed

PUBLISHED: 09:34 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:00 03 July 2010

Police in Norfolk appealed for help from the public in establishing whether serial killer Peter Tobin was responsible for any of the unsolved murders and disappearances of young women in the county.

Police in Norfolk appealed for help from the public in establishing whether serial killer Peter Tobin was responsible for any of the unsolved murders and disappearances of young women in the county.

Last week, jurors in Essex took just 13 minutes to find former church handyman Tobin - who is already serving life terms for the murders of 15-year-old Vicky Hamilton and Angelika Kluk, 23 -guilty of strangling 18-year-old Dinah McNicol.

That conviction - and the suspicions of detectives that 63-year-old Tobin killed other women - re-ignited a national probe called Operation Anagram.

Norfolk police has been part of that operation, with a string of unsolved cases involving young women in the county, including Pamela Exall, 21, Yvette Watson, 17, Natalie Pearman, 16, Johanna Young, 14, April Fabb, 13 and Susan Long, 18.

It is known Tobin, from Johnstone in Renfrewshire, Scotland, had links to Norfolk, having holidayed on The Broads and serving time in Norwich Prison.

The national investigation is urging people in areas he was known to frequent to get in touch with information, with Norfolk highlighted as one of the locations where people could hold vital information to help detectives uncover the extent of his crimes.

Although police in Norfolk, who re-opened a number of cold cases last summer, said the investigations carried out so far had not established any links with Tobin, a major appeal was launched on the BBC's Crimewatch this week to try to spark fresh leads.

As part of Operation Anagram's bid to shed light on those crimes police revealed Tobin used sex workers and was a member of biker gangs earlier in his life.

They released a list of areas where he was known to frequent and Norfolk was listed as one of those locations, with the public urged to help piece together his movements.

Det Supt David Swindle, from Strathclyde Police, who is heading Operation Anagram, is particularly keen to figure out where Tobin was between 1977/8 and 1985/6.

He said: “His offences, what he's done to these women in the past, is horrific and without doubt he has probably committed more and that's why it's important the public come forward and supply any information about him.

“It is a massive UK-wide operation and information has been coming from various parts of the UK and some recent information, very recent information, is the fact that he was using sex workers. That itself may be something that people don't want to come forward about.

“He was involved in biker gangs in his early days,” Mr Swindle added.

A spokesman for Norfolk police, said: “All of our investigations relating to unsolved murders and missing people remain live enquiries and we always welcome any new information from members of the public in relation to any of these matters.

“The potential link with Peter Tobin has been investigated and there is no evidence at this time to suggest a link between him and offences in Norfolk.

“Anyone with information about these cases should contact Norfolk Constabulary on 0845 4564567 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

April Fabb

The 13-year-old, from Melton, left to cycle to her sister's home in Roughton on April 8, 1969 to give her brother-in-law a birthday present. Between 2.06pm, when she was seen by a tractor driver, and 2.12pm, when her blue and white bike was found lying on its side in a field, she vanished and no trace of her has been found.

Pamela Exall

The 21-year-old went missing while on holiday in Norfolk in 1974. She was staying at the Dinglea campsite near Snettisham with her brother and a friend, but was never seen again after going for a walk.

Yvette Watson

The 17-year-old disappeared from David Rice Hospital in Norwich in March 1979 just days before she was due to return home after being treated for depression. She has never been seen again.

Natalie Pearman

The 16-year-old prostitute's half-naked body was found at Ringland Hills, near Norwich, in November 1992. Her killer has never been found.

Johanna Young

The 14-year-old left her home in Merton Road, Watton, at around 7.30pm on December 23, 1992 and her body was found in a freezing pond on Boxing Day.

Susan Long

On March 10, 1970, the 18-year-old Norwich Union worker had been out dancing at the Gala Ballroom in Norwich with her boyfriend and caught the last bus home to Aylsham.

She arrived at around 11.10pm and began the seven minute walk to her parents' home at Sir William's Lane but never arrived and her body was found the next morning.

Headless woman at Cockley Cley

The badly decomposed and headless body of a young woman was found concealed in weeds off the Cockley Cley road near Swaffham on August 27, 1974. The woman has never been identified.

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