When the body of missing 16-year-old Colette Aram was found, police launched a murder investigation. But the case soon ran cold and the killer taunted police that they’d never catch him. But 25 years later, advances in forensics meant police were a step closer to finding him….
It was a cold October morning in 1983 when the naked body of a young woman was found. Colette Aram, 16, had gone missing the night before. She’d been walking to her boyfriend’s house in Nottinghamshire at 8pm, but the teenager had never arrived.
Now her body had been found, dumped in a field. She’d been raped and strangled. Police launched a murder investigation. Soon, the landlady of a local pub got in touch saying she’d noticed blood on a customer’s hand, shortly after the time it was believed Colette had been killed.
When investigators checked a hand towel at the pub, they found traces of Colette’s DNA and her killer. But forensics failed to match it to anyone on the police database. The following June, Colette’s case was the first to be featured on the newly launched BBC TV show, Crimewatch.
Despite receiving a few tip offs, Police were still no closer to catching Colette’s killer. Soon the case went cold when all leads dried up. Colette’s killer was still at large and it didn’t stop him taunting the police.
He began sending them letters. One read: No one knows what I look like. That is why you have not got me. He also claimed he was wearing a Halloween mask. You will never get me, he wrote. But the mystery killer was wrong…
Unbeknown to him, advances in forensics meant police were closer to catching him. In 2008, a young man was arrested on a motoring charge and his DNA swabs were taken. His DNA was a near identical match to that of Colette’s killer.
But the young man hadn’t even been born at the time of Colette’s murder. So who had killed Colette?
Police quickly hunted down the young man’s father, Paul Hutchinson, and he was arrested. Eventually Hutchinson admitted the crime.
On the day of Colette’s murder he’d hidden in a shed, spying on young girls. Then, armed with a bread knife, he’d stolen a Ford Fiesta.
And when he spotted Colette walking along a quiet street, he’d bundled her into the car before speeding off. He raped her before strangling her and dumping her body. And he’d evaded capture for more than 25 years.
In December 2009 he was jailed for life after pleading guilty to the murder. But just eight months after being jailed, the 52-year-old took an overdose in Nottingham Prison.
Hutchinson never explained why he murdered Colette, leaving her family with a host of unanswered questions.
In a Press interview, Colette’s mother Jacqui Kirkby said: ‘We are never ever going to get closure because we never got answers and we never will. He never showed any more remorse and he took the coward’s way out.’