A HAMPSHIRE detective has been recognised for the “sheer tenacity” he displayed during one of the county’s biggest murder investigations.

Det Insp Martin Chudley unearthed the final piece of evidence needed to convict the killer of Georgina Edmonds, the pensioner battered to death at her home in 2008.

Fours years ago Matthew Hamlen, 36, was cleared of killing Mrs Edmonds, 77, at her riverside cottage at Brambridge, near Eastleigh.

But new DNA evidence came to light and the electrician was re-arrested in 2014 following a relaxation of the double jeopardy law, which had previously prevented anyone being tried for the same crime twice. Earlier this year he was convicted of murder and jailed for life.

Now Det Insp Chudley’s “hard work, dedication and sheer tenacity” have been recognised at the Police Federation National Detectives’ Forum Awards, where he was named runner-up in the Detective Investigation of the Year category.

He said: “To be recognised in this category is fantastic for the team and recognition of all of our hard work.

“It’s important to remember that whilst we celebrate our achievements in this investigation, at the heart of all of this is an elderly woman who lost her life and a family who have been left behind.”

“The entire Edmonds family have been extremely supportive and understanding throughout some very difficult times.”

Mrs Edmonds was murdered after being tortured for her PIN number. Jurors at Hamlen’s two trials at Winchester Crown Court heard how she was stabbed 37 times before being bludgeoned with a rolling pin.

Det Insp Chudley was the officer in charge of gathering the forensic evidence for the prosecution team.

Following Hamlen’s acquittal he pressed for one final piece of DNA testing to be carried out. Experts using the latest techniques examined tapings from a tiny part of Mrs Edmonds’s blouse and discovered evidence linked to the electrician.

Following Hamlen’s conviction Det Insp Chudley was described as a “hero” by the pensioner’s relatives.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Hamlen’s family remain convinced of his innocence and are offering a reward for information leading to his conviction being quashed.