VICTIM: murdered Southampton student Joan Lesley McMurray.

ONE of the longest and most baffling murder inquiries ever undertaken in Hampshire is to be stepped up - 30 years after the crime.

Police have revealed that following recent stories in the Daily Echo surrounding the 1969 murder of Southampton University stu-dent Joan Lesley McMurray, new leads have been thrown up.

The inquiry is one of the few unsolved murder cases on Hampshire Constabulary's files.

Recent articles in the Daily Echo, including a piece carried late last week, are believed to have brought fresh information.

Detectives say they have new lines of inquiry but will not reveal exactly what they are.

The case is being taken up by a new high-ranking officer, Detective Superintendent Dave Haverly, head of Hampshire force's Western area CID team, after lying dormant for a number of years.

Det Supt Des Thomas, deputy head of Hampshire CID, who headed the case from 1995, when another Echo report threw up new leads, said recent coverage of the case could make people come forward.

"As the years have passed ties may have loosened and some people may now feel con-fident to come forward to us with information. We would be delighted to hear from them," he said. Joan, a beautiful and brilliant third-year biology student, disappeared on a walk along the Itchen Navigation Canal from Shawford to her Swaythling digs on June 2, 1969.

She had just kissed her boyfriend, Charles Gore, goodbye and said she wanted to walk along the water's edge to Montefiore House.

A huge sweep of the area, involving frogmen who searched sluices and locks and helicopters scouring the area, all proved fruit-less.

Attention was diverted to the New Forest later that month when on June 27, a pile of clothes - including her trousers, beige Hush Puppies, cream-coloured raincoat, knickers and her shoes, one of which had a broken heel - were found at the Bolton's Bench beauty spot at Lyndhurst. But the discovery proved to be a red herring, leading the police away from any early hope of finding the murderer.

Nine months later, on March 23, 1970 the worst fears of police were confirmed with the grim discovery of her badly decomposed remains. Her body was found by a dog walker concealed in dense undergrowth in a field near gravel pits at Allington Lane, Fair Oak.

It was half a mile from the route the girl would have taken had she continued her river-side walk. In the intervening years, despite numerous appeals, the case was scaled down.

It again hit the head-lines when the detective who led the initial investigation, Det Chief Supt Cyril Holdaway revealed on his retirement in 1979 he believed he knew who the killer was and that he would never again be a danger.

Although rumours abounded that the killer was a lorry driver already serving life for another murder, the former detective would not been drawn further.

Det Supt Thomas said: "Murder cases are never closed in Hampshire. We are now very keen to bring it to a conclusion

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