Man convicted of 1981 murder - Windsor

04/12/2013

A man appeared at Reading Crown Court today, Wednesday, 04 December 2013, and was convicted of the murder of 17-year-old Claire Woolterton in Windsor in 1981.

Colin Frederick Campbell, aged 65, formerly of the West London area, was found guilty of murder by a majority verdict of 11:1.

Campbell is due to be sentenced at Reading Crown Court either after 2pm today or tomorrow, Thursday, 05 December 2013.

Campbell was charged in connection with Claire's murder on 28 November 2012, after a new investigation into the 1981 murder was launched by Thames Valley Police's Major Crime Review Team.

Claire's body was found by a member of the public on a towpath alongside Barry Avenue in Windsor, at just after 6am on Friday, 28 August 1981. She had been stabbed and strangled.

Ruth Bowskill, Temporary Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic murder of a 17-year-old young woman more than 30 years ago. Claire Woolterton, who was making her way home in West London after a night out, had the misfortune to come across Campbell.  Claire was preyed upon, sexually assaulted, murdered and mutilated for Campbell's own sexual gratification.

"Campbell is serving life for the manslaughter of a 29-year-old female hitchhiker he picked up in West London December 1984 and whose body was also dumped in Thames Valley and is undoubtedly an extremely dangerous man.

"Had it not been for his arrest for that offence Campbell may never have been brought to justice for Claire's murder. It is thanks to cold case reviews and developments in DNA/forensic evidence techniques that we were able to secure this conviction today.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since the investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Claire.  What is important about the verdict today is justice for Claire and her family. I cannot praise Claire's family enough, who have remained dignified and courageous throughout the lengthy investigation, and trial despite the unimaginable nightmare they have endured.

"This case will hopefully highlight to the public that both the police and the CPS are committed to detecting unsolved cases and that survivors should never give up hope.  We work tirelessly to review cold cases and wherever possible bring those responsible to justice.

"This also sends a very clear message to anyone who thinks that they have escaped justice for similar offences.  With every advance in science, it is only a matter of time before they too are arrested.

"We know that nothing will bring Claire back to her family, but we hope that today's conviction brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

Following today's verdict, Pete Beirne, who is head of the Major Crime Review Team and oversaw this investigation said: "I am pleased that the jury has recognised the overwhelming DNA evidence against Campbell and reached this conclusion today.

"Campbell has at no time shown any remorse for his actions and has delayed proceedings, adding to the strain on Claire's family and delaying the judicial process.

"At the time of Claire's murder an extensive investigation was carried out, an investigation I was part of, and at that time Campbell did not feature in our enquiries.

"Thanks to the work carried out by the Major Crime Review Team, working closely with our partners LGC Forensics and the Crown Prosecution Service, we were able to use modern-day technology to identify significant forensic evidence linking Campbell to the murder, which led to his arrest in November 2012.

"I hope that Claire's family, who have shown courage during this difficult time, can take some comfort in knowing that her killer has finally received the justice he deserves.

"Thames Valley Police will continue to review and re-investigate unsolved crimes and we have a dedicated team of detectives and staff committed to doing this. The passage of time is no defence and review teams across the country are carrying out such work daily to ensure our communities are protected."