DETECTIVES investigating one of Hampshire's longest running and most baffling murders have carried out searches at two addresses, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Officers searching for the killer of Southampton University student Joan Lesley McMurray, murdered as she walked along the banks of the Itchen Navigation Canal in 1969, executed the search warrants at a home in the Eastleigh area and also at an address in Nottinghamshire early yesterday.

It is the first time since the 30-year-old case was rekindled earlier this year that formal searches have been carried out and could lead to a breakthrough in the investigation.

Hampshire Police spokesman Jane Kennedy Scott said: "I can confirm that search warrants were carried out at an address in Eastleigh and also in Nottinghamshire by officers involved in the investigation of the murder of Joan Lesley McMurray. I am not aware that any arrests have been made."

A police source confirmed that arrests were not thought to be imminent.

The McMurray case is one of only a few unsolved murders on Hampshire Constabulary's files. Lesley, a brilliant third year biology student, disappeared while walking along the Itchen Navigation Canal from Shawford to her digs at Swaythling on June 2, 1969.

The 21-year-old had just kissed her boyfriend Charlie Gore goodbye, saying she wanted to walk along the water's edge to Montefiore House halls of residence. Mr Gore was not a suspect in the case.

It was not until March 23 the following year that Lesley's remains were found in a shallow grave on a railway line embankment about three-quarters of a mile from the footpath.

Now it is believed the killer may already be known to police and could have been interviewed during the first investigation.

It is also hoped the advance in forensic medicine over the years will help in the inquiry, with hairs found near Lesley's skeletal remains being analysed for a possible DNA blueprint which could match with the suspects still being investigated.

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