Janice Weston murder: Police re-open file after 35 years
Key to mystery could rest on how solicitor's car ended up in Redhill Street near the Regent's Park Estate
13 September, 2018 — By Richard Osley
Janice Weston was found dead in a lay-by on the A1
COLD case detectives have reopened a 35-year-old murder inquiry into the death of a solicitor whose car was found abandoned close to the Regent’s Park Estate after the killing.
Janice Weston, 36, is thought to have been bludgeoned around the head with a car jack in a lay-by on the A1, close to Brampton in Cambridgeshire. Her body was found by a racing cyclist and his wife on September 11, 1983. A few days later, Ms Weston’s car – a silver Alfa Romeo Alfetta – was discovered in Redhill Street. Her driver’s licence and purse were still inside.
The case made headline news across the national newspapers and TV channels, and police said at the time they were aiming to quickly arrest a suspect. But nobody has ever been charged with the murder, and the case, despite many different theories over the years, continues to baffle detectives. More than 5,000 statements were taken in relation to the inquiry.
Detective Kelly Knibbs, from the major crime unit, said: “We’ve been conducting a review of the case and are keen to hear from anyone who may have any information about what happened. We’re now 35 years on from Janice’s death, but no unsolved murder investigation is ever closed.” She added that there may be new “forensic” possibilities.
The timeline of Ms Weston’s final movements has the last sighting of her alive at her office near Lincoln’s Inn Fields in Holborn on September 10, 1983. She is thought to have gone home to her flat in Holland Park, where a half-eaten meal was later discovered. It is then believed she may have driven or been driven in the direction of her country home in Clopton, Northants, which she owned with her husband Tony.
Janice Weston’s car was found in Redhill Street
On the A1, a tyre may have needed changing – when the car was found its spare had been fitted to a wheel – and it is at this point that police believe Ms Weston was attacked. The jack was found in a nearby field with traces of her hair and blood.
How the car then came to be near Regent’s Park remains a key point of the mystery. It had been there untouched for long enough that wardens had put a ticket on the windscreen by the time police arrived. No fingerprints could be found inside, although there was an opened bottle of wine. Relatives were adamant that Ms Weston never drank when she drove. The replaced tyre could not be found despite searches near the lay-by and Redhill Street.
One witness said a scruffy-looking man had been seen getting out of the car, although this figure remains unidentified. Tony Weston was questioned for more than 50 hours by police – later raising a complaint about the manner of the interrogation which included showing him harrowing photos from the crime scene – but was cleared of any involvement. He was placed on a business trip in France where witnesses said they had seen him in Tours and Paris during the critical days.
Ms Weston, a black belt in judo, had not seemingly been robbed and was still wearing a gold watch and her wedding ring when she was found by the cyclists. She had been a successful lawyer at the Charles Russell firm, specialising in conveyancing and had helped set up a network group of high-flying women in law and finance. At the time of her death, she was writing a book on controlling computer data. O
ver the years, theories have been suggested and dismissed including one from a serving prisoner who said she had been killed in a botched kidnap. The story, said not to be credible by police after investigation, said one of the kidnappers was himself killed and dumped in a nearby lake. Ms Weston’s murder has also been raised in relation to an investigation into whether serial killer Peter Tobin killed more women, although without any concrete link.
A police statement said: “Officers from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit are conducting a review of the murder, exploring new forensic opportunities and appealing for anyone with information to come forward.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting Operation Oakmere or visit www.cambs. police.uk/report Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www. crimestoppers-uk.org