UK

25th anniversary appeal launched to catch mother’s killer

Police are hoping the latest appeal will bring answers for Linda Bryant’s family (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Police are hoping the latest appeal will bring answers for Linda Bryant’s family (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA) Police are hoping the latest appeal will bring answers for Linda Bryant’s family (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

Detectives have launched a fresh appeal for information on the 25th anniversary of the unsolved murder of a mother of two.

Linda Bryant, 40, known as Lyn, was stabbed in her back, neck and chest as she walked her dog in her home village of Ruan High Lanes, near Truro in Cornwall on October 20 1998.

The attack is believed to have been sexually motivated because Mrs Bryant’s clothing had been disturbed when her body was discovered in the entrance to a field.

It is 25 years since Linda Bryant was murdered (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
It is 25 years since Linda Bryant was murdered (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA) It is 25 years since Linda Bryant was murdered (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

On the 25th anniversary of her murder, detectives remain convinced someone holds vital information that could help find her killer.

A reward of £20,000 has been offered by Crimestoppers for information which leads to an arrest and conviction.

Detective Inspector Rob Smith, who is leading the investigation, said: “For 25 years the family of Lyn Bryant have lived with this terrible loss and uncertainty.

“Her family have never found peace knowing that the offender remains free – 25 years have gone by but this has not lessened the pain of what happened to her that awful day.

“We maintain the view that the public holds the key to this investigation.

“I would urge anyone who had suspicions about any relative, friend or colleague who was acting suspiciously around the time of the murder to please come forward and help us bring some peace to Lyn’s family. Now is the time.

“We know that 25 years is a long time but we remain convinced that someone knows what happened to Lyn and for some reason they have never come forward.

“Allegiances may have changed with the passage of time and those who found it difficult to talk to police may now feel able. Now is the time to contact us.”

Advances in DNA have enabled police to produce a partial DNA profile which is believed to be that of the killer.

Since 2016 officers have been retaking DNA samples from people across the UK to check them against the partial profile.

Mrs Bryant, who was also a grandmother, was local to the remote part of Cornwall where she lived with her husband Peter, who she had been married to for about 19 years.

They had two children, Lee, then aged 21, and Erin, then aged 19. Lee’s son Keelan was 10 months old at the time.

Police are hoping the latest appeal will bring answers for Linda Bryant's family (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Police are hoping the latest appeal will bring answers for Linda Bryant's family (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA) Police are hoping the latest appeal will bring answers for Linda Bryant’s family (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

On the day of the murder Mrs Bryant cleaned a local house, went to see her parents and then bought groceries from a garage.

She returned home and then took the family’s lurcher dog, Jay, for a walk.

A holidaymaker discovered Mrs Bryant’s body, lying in the gateway to a field near the chapel, at about 2.30pm.

Her death is one of the largest and longest running unsolved murder inquiries carried out by Devon and Cornwall Police.

In 1998 police pieced together her final movements, including critical witness reports of three unknown men seen in the area at the time.

The men remain unidentified and the sightings are still a key part of the investigation.

“We know that she must have fought against her attacker. Her clothing had been disturbed which leads us to conclude that this was a sexually motivated murder,” said Det Insp Smith.

“The weapon, believed to be a single-edged blade such as a penknife or a small kitchen knife, has never been found.”

Mystery surrounds Mrs Bryant’s glasses which cryptically reappeared at the crime scene four months after she died.

“The reappearance of Lyn’s glasses remains a real mystery in this case,” added Det Insp Smith.

“Why were they put back there? Were they found by somebody and returned to the scene or were they put there by the murderer?”