Unsolved Berkshire murders: 22 peoples deaths still a mystery

A total of 22 murder cases from 1967 to 2015 remain a mystery with the people or person responsible still at large.

Thames Valley Police assembled a cold case team in 2007 to help investigate the murders as well as unsolved rapes and assaults.

Most recently, the team secured the conviction of 77-year-old Robert Frid who kidnapped and assaulting a three-year-old girl in Bracknell in 1986.

But 22 people deaths still remain a mystery. These people are:

  • 1967: Ruth Bradbury, (Crowthorne) Wokingham

14-year-old Ruth was shot dead in Simons Wood, close to Wellingtonia Avenue, on the morning of March 29, 1967 as she walked home from a shopping errand for her grandmother.

Close by in the woodland was evidence that someone had been using trees and tin cans for target practice with a .22 rifle.

It was believed that Ruth was accidentally shot as she walked through the woods.

  • 1975: Charles Harrington, Bracknell

Charles Harrington was 47 when he was hit by a vehicle on the mini roundabout near Market Street and The Ring.

Sadly, not much more is known than that.

  • 1976: John Wood, Pangbourne

Sadly, not a great deal is known about the murder of John Wood. His body was found inside his home and the cause of death was a blow from a blunt instrument.

  • 1976: Eva Greenwood, Reading

Eva Greenwood was 76 when she died in a house fire. Sadly, not much more is known than this.

  • 1983: Brenda Haines, Maidenhead

On the 12th of June 1982, 50-year-old Brenda Haines was found unresponsive in a bath at her home on Longleat Gardens in Maidenhead.

Her husband Michael went on trial for murder the following May and was jailed for life. He later appealed his convicted and was cleared of her murder after spending 14 months in prison.

  • 1983: Molly Willmore, Taplow

On 4th April 1983, Molly Wilmore, 74, is believed to have disturbed burglars and was beaten to death with a weapon.

Her house was then tragically set on fire. No one has been arrested or charged in connection to this.

  • 1985: Cyril Martin, Maidenhead

Cyril Martin died seven weeks after being brutally attacked while he slept in an abandoned hut in Maidenhead on October 16, 1985. He was 63-years-old at the time.

  • 1986: Richard Griffith, Reading

Richard was 20-years-old at the time of his death in Oxford Road, Reading. He was stavved in the heart at a blues party – a man was tried for his murder but acquitted by a jury.

  • 1987: Vincent Murray, Reading

Vincent Murray died after being pushed into the River Kennet in the September in a presumed ‘drunken brawl’.

He sadly drowned and a 29-year-old was tried for his manslaughter but was acquitted.

  • 1990: Joseph McEwan, Slough

The 28-year-old died in Aldridge Road after been shot in the head on Valentines Day. Six men and three women were arrested over his murder but no one was charged.

  • 1993: Stacey Queripel, Bracknell

Seven-year-old Stacey Queripel disappeared from her home in Birch Hill on January 24, 1993. She was last seen alive at 5.30pm but her body was found by a police dog handler several hours later in woodland near South Hill Park.

Initially, police thought the youngster’s necklaces had become entangled in branches, leading to her asphyxiation. But a post-mortem revealed marks on her body consistent with being strangled.

A Home Office pathologist concluded that she was probably killed elsewhere as her shoes were clean despite the muddy ground where her body was found.

Police arrested the girl’s mother on suspicion of murder but she was later released.

The East Berkshire coroner, who recorded her death as an unlawful killing, said at the time he feared without fresh evidence her killer may never be found. No-one was ever charged with her murder, and police admit the trail has run cold.

Reading Chronicle: Stacey Queripel, BracknellStacey Queripel, Bracknell (Image: Thames Valley Police)

  • 1994: Mohammed Younis, Slough

The 42-year-old was killed in his flat in Chalvey on Monday, December 19. Police originally believe he was murdered by a mentally ill stranger or he had disturbed a burglar.

He was tragically stabbed 15 times but no one saw anything.

  • 1995: Surjit Basra, Slough

Unfortunately, not much is known about the death of Surjit Basra which occurred on January 1, 1995 in Slough.

  • 1996: Vera Holland, Reading

Married mother of three Vera went missing on Thursday, November 14 1996 on her way to a local KFC restaurant in Shinfield Rise, south Reading.

Her husband, Brian, reported her missing when she failed to return home.

Devastatingly, her body was found close to the A327, in a road south of Reading two days later.

The cause of her death was strangulation.

An appeal for new information was made by her children and Thames Valley Police on the 20th anniversary of her death in November 2016 but, to date, no one has been charged.

Reading Chronicle: Vera HollandVera Holland (Image: Thames Valley Police)

  • 1997: Emily Salvani, Reading

Seven-year-old Emily was asleep in her home on Hemdean Road, Caversham, Reading, when petrol was poured through the letterbox and then lit in the early hours of May 3, 1997.

Emily’s mother, Katie, was able to escape the blaze in the house along with Emily’s brother, Zach, who was three years old at the time. Both were treated for severe burns at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and recovered from their injuries, but Emily died of smoke inhalation.

It was found that phone lines to the house had been cut prior to the arson attack to prevent calls to the emergency services.

On May 3, 2017, on the 20th anniversary of Emily’s death, her mother and brother made a new appeal for information but the case remains unsolved.

Reading Chronicle: Emily Salvani, ReadingEmily Salvani, Reading (Image: Thames Valley Police)

  • 1997: Mohammed Nazir, Slough

On July 28, 1997 the 61-year-old was shot in the legs and abdomen by two masked gunmen who forced their way into the home.

His 19-year-old son was also shot in the leg and Mr Nazir had jumped in front of him to protect him.

His murder partly resulted in a demonstration by 100 Muslims outside Slough Police Station on 24 August 1997 which claimed that a number of recent crimes against Pakistanis had not resulted in any arrests and that the police were discriminating. However, the police refuted any suggestions that they discriminated against any section of society.

  • 1997: Danielle Thorn, Slough

Danielle Thorn was only seven weeks old when died from a brain injury in September, 1997. Her father was tried for murder but was acquitted.

  • 1997: David Richard Seymour, Reading

David Seymour was stabbed in the chest inside a wine bar in The Oracle on October 16. A man was arrested in connection with the murder but was released on police bail.

One his friends was also stabbed in the stomach but was released from hospital soon after.

  • 1999: Nathan Cawley, Windsor

Nathan was shot a point-blank range on a dance floor of the Mirage nightclub on July 4, 1999. Three men were seen running from the club and six men were arrested by no one was charged.

It is believed Mr Cawley ‘was armed himself and had been involved in a drugs business’.

  • 2000: Cheryll Grover, Newbury

Cheryll Grover, 21, was last seen alive by a visitor to her home on Audley Close, Turnpike, Newbury, at 10.30pm on Friday, May 12, 2000.

Cheryll spoke to friends on the phone at 2.35am on Saturday, May 13, but efforts made by her estranged husband, Steven, to contact her later that same day came to nothing.

Concerned for Cheryll’s welfare, Steven, and his mother, visited Cheryll’s home at 3.30pm and Steven climbed the drainpipe to reach the first floor bedroom window.

Inside, Cheryll was found dead in her bedroom. Someone had strangled her with a dressing gown cord.

Police suspected that Cheryll was selling drugs from her home and an appeal led to a number of people coming forward.

A 32-year-old man was arrested but released without charge.

Although Cheryll’s death was investigated as a murder, the inquest returned an open verdict. In May 2006, Thames Valley Police announced that Cheryll’s death was being reviewed by a cold case police team.

Reading Chronicle: Cheryll GroverCheryll Grover (Image: Thames Valley Police)

  • 2003: Mohammed Mahmood, Slough

On Valentines Day 2003, Mohammed Mahmood was stabbed to death by four masked men who were stealing his friends car.

He was taken to Wexham Park Hospital but sadly died. It is believed his murder brought on the ‘revenge murder’ of Daniel Higgins in the November.

  • 2015: Aivaras Danilevičius, Bracknell (Warfield)

A body was found wrapped in bin bags and a blanket in Hawthorn Lane, Bracknell, on July 24, 2015.

The skull was found to have two injuries indicating blunt force trauma. It is not known how the body got to Hawthorn Lane or who put it there.

The man was thought to have been 30–40 years old at the time of his death between 2008 and 2013.

In July 2016, he was identified as Mr Danilevičius.

Reading Chronicle: Aivaras DanileviciusAivaras Danilevicius (Image: Thames Valley Police)

The head of the cold case team, principal investigator Peter Beirne said: “With ever advancing forensic technology that we now have access to, we will lock up more offenders who have committed historic offences. They should expect a knock on the door from us at any time.

“Thames Valley Police never forgets about victims of unsolved crimes and we will strive to bring justice to other victims and their families.

“The public can help us to solve historic cases by coming forward with information.

“Therefore, if you have any information or suspicions about an unsolved case, please call the force on 101 or visit our website.”

Reading Chronicle | West Berkshire