Police and council respond to petition to dig up Brighton garden in search of body of missing teen

Louise Kay
Louise Kay

Police have said there is no new evidence to warrant the excavation of a Brighton garden which petitioners believe may conceal the body of missing teenager Louise Kay.

More than 650 people have signed a Change.org petition asking Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police to dig up the garden linked to serial killer Peter Tobin.

They believe a theory from former detective Mark Williams-Thomas that 18-year-old Louise from Polegate, who vanished in 1988, was a victim of Tobin’s.

Mr Williams-Thomas has also suggested that Tobin took the life of Jessie Earl, whose remains were found in thick undergrowth at Beachy Head in 1989 – nine years after she went missing.

In response to the petition, Sussex Police has said it understands the ‘continuing anguish’ for the women’s families but its advice remains that there is nothing to justify carrying out a further search of the Brighton property.

A police spokesman said the force carried out full forensic searches on two addresses in Brighton and Portslade as part of a national project into unsolved murders in 2008 and 2010.

At the time, after detailed enquiries about several addresses, two properties in Marine Parade Brighton, and Station Road, Portslade were ‘intensively searched’ including the use of ground-penetrating radar and nothing suspicious was found.

A police spokesman said: “In respect of the address currently referred to, we advised Brighton & Hove City Council that there is nothing to justify our carrying out a search.

“The current position in Sussex is that the cases of Jessie Earl and Louise Kay form part of our Crime Review Team’s schedule of unresolved major cases and they are assessed every two years, to examine any new information that has been provided, or to consider advances in investigative techniques, that would make a re-investigations viable.

“Currently no new information has been provided in these cases and there are no outstanding lines of enquiry.

“We have no evidence implicating any other named or known individual in the murder of Jessie Earl, or in the disappearance of Louise Kay.

“We understand the continuing anguish of the families of Jessie and Louise in not knowing what happened to their loved ones, and our thoughts remain with them. We will never close these cases until and unless some resolution and closure is found for them.”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Whenever crime investigations are carried out, we act according to police advice and cooperate in any way we can.

“However, the police have said there is no evidence to warrant the excavation of a garden in Brighton & Hove in connection with the very sad disappearance of Louise Kay.

“We have a duty of care to our tenants and would not agree to investigations that could be disruptive or upsetting for our tenants unless required to do so by the police – in which case we would of course cooperate in any way we could.”

Anyone who has any new information that could lead to new lines of enquiry can always contact Sussex Police via email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk or call 101 at any time, quoting Operation Silk (for Jessie Earl) or Operation Azure (for Louise Kay).

Police have said any information will be researched, cross-referred, and assessed, and further enquiries carried out where appropriate