Man found guilty of 1966 murder - Berkshire

20/07/2012

A 64-year-old man has today, Friday, 20 July 2012 been found guilty at Reading Crown Court of murdering Berkshire teenager Yolande Waddington in August 1966.

David Burgess, formally of Beenham, denied murdering 17-year-old Yolande in the village of Beenham, Berkshire, but was found guilty following a five week trial.

Burgess was already serving a life sentence after being convicted in July 1967 of murdering two 9-year-old girls in Beenham on 17 April 1967.

Yolande, who was working as a nanny for a local family, was last seen in the Six Bells pub in Beenham on the evening of 28 October 1966.

Her body was discovered by a farm labourer and her employer in a ditch near a barn in Clay Lane, Beenham, two days later on 30 October. She had been stabbed and strangled. The cause of death was later established to be asphyxia through strangulation.

A large-scale murder investigation was carried out by Berkshire Constabulary, with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Service, with over 4,000 statements taken and blood samples collected from more than 200 men in the village. However, no-one was charged with Yolande's murder.

The case was re-opened by the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Review Team (MCRT) in September 2010, hoping to bring justice for the Waddington family.

The MCRT was set up by Thames Valley Police in July 2007 to re-investigate unsolved homicides and serious sexual assaults and bring those responsible to justice.

Working closely with LGC Forensics, the MCRT discovered significant forensic evidence linking Burgess to Yolande's murder. His DNA profile was found on items left at the murder scene, including a polythene fertiliser sack, Yolande's headband and a comb. This evidence led to the arrest of Burgess on 15 November 2011.

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "David Burgess has today been found guilty of killing 17-year-old Yolande Waddington.

"Today's guilty verdict concludes a detailed investigation by Thames Valley Police's Major Crime Review Team.  We have worked closely with them and it is extremely pleasing that they were able to identify the offender for this terrible crime due to forensic science advances.

"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.

"Our thoughts are with the Waddington family at this difficult time."

Superintendent Barry Halliday, Senior Investigating Officer, said: "Thanks to an intensive investigation by my team, working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and LGC Forensics, new forensic evidence was uncovered which proved Burgess' guilt and he has now been found guilty of Yolande's murder.

"Burgess, who would have been 19-years-old at the time Yolande was murdered, was arrested after his DNA was found on original items collected from the 1966 crime scene. Original exhibits were kept in storage to be examined and tested again after advances in technology enabled more sensitive analysis.

"Although Burgess confessed to the crime to prison officers on three separate occasions, he has always refused to admit his guilt, and went so far as to challenge police to prove the case against him. He has never fully explained how or why he killed Yolande, which is yet another aggravating factor in this case.

"We hope that this conviction will bring some comfort after all these years to the Waddington family. Although they now have the knowledge that the person who killed Yolande is being punished for his despicable crime, they have still lost a much loved daughter and sister and my thoughts remain with them.

"My thoughts are also with the families of Jeanette Wigmore and Jacqueline Williams, the two 9-year-old girls who Burgess murdered in 1967, as this case has inevitably brought this tragedy back into the public arena. They have shown continued bravery and support for the police investigation.

"Thames Valley Police has always undertaken and committed to conducting reviews and re-investigations of unresolved crimes. However, with the formation of the MCRT we are in a position to use dedicated experienced detectives who can consistently examine all the existing evidence available and consider and utilise new techniques and forensic advances to obtain fresh new evidence. It is this combined approach utilising very experienced detectives and advances which delivers such outcomes for surviving family victims.

"However, it isn't solely advances in forensic science which helps us solve historic cases such as this. We now benefit from a much closer working relationship with our partners, in this case LGC Forensics and the Crown Prosecution Service, and are further assisted by changes in legislation and the depth of skills and knowledge which are now at our disposal within the police force.

"Offenders should be aware that the MCRT, and others like it across the country, will continue to relentlessly investigate unsolved homicides and serious sexual assaults. We will keep re-evaluating evidence and with advances in science continually improving we will continue to solve crimes and bring those responsible to justice."

Steve Allen, Managing Director of LGC Forensics, said: "LGC Forensics has developed an unrivalled reputation for re-investigations as well as for high quality analytical science across the full spectrum of forensic casework. In difficult cases, such as this one, a successful outcome owes much to LGC Forensics' unique approach to investigation strategy and in-depth search methods."

Burgess was remanded in custody to appear back at Reading Crown Court on Monday, 23 July for sentencing.