Preston student Janet Murgatroyd's murder "remains a crime we desperately want to solve" police say ahead of the 25th anniversary of her death

The brutal murder of law student Janet Murgatroyd on the banks of the River Ribble is one of Lancashire's most notorious unsolved crimes.

By Stef Hall
Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:42 pm

It is 25 years since her tragic death on Wednesday, but the investigation into the killing remains open, and her killer is still at large.

The 20-year-old UCLan student, from Broad Oak Green, Penwortham, had spent her last day – Friday, June 15, 1996 – shopping with friends and enjoying a night out, finishing at The Adelphi pub.

But the bubbly part-time police clerk never made it home.

Janet Murgatroyd

As Janet crossed Penwortham Bridge she was kicked at least three times to the head, suffering a broken nose and jaw, and suffered scratch marks on the back of her leg consistent with being dragged through undergrowth.

She was dumped by the river on the Penwortham side of the bridge, where the tidal water rose, and she drowned.

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Janet, an only child who would now be 45, was later found upstream near Margaret Road in Lower Penwortham.

Det Chief Insp Pauline Stables, of Lancashire Constabulary's Force Major Investigation Team, today said: "First and foremost my thoughts are with Janet's family and friends at this time.

"I would like to use the 25th anniversary of Janet's death to appeal to anyone with information which may assist us to please come forward.

"We have never closed this case and it remains a crime we desperately want to solve.

"Even if you think the information is insignificant, please come forward and tell us what you know so we can investigate.

"Anyone who has information about the murder can contact Lancashire Police or independent charity Crimestoppers in confidence."

The last confirmed sighting of Janet was by two passers by who chatted briefly with her at the junction of Broadgate and Fishergate Hill.

The probe has seen more than 1,500 people interviewed, and more than 2,100 names stored on police computers.

Janet's size 10 Wrangler jeans have never been recovered. A photographer at the scene found Janet's bloodstained shirt and police forensically tested hairs found on the top, and one of her socks.

Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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