Police who failed to solve Billie-Jo murder are STILL haunted by case

Police who failed to solve Billie-Jo Jenkins murder say they are STILL haunted by case as new DNA tests revive hopes that 13-year-old’s killer will finally be brought to justice 25 years on

  • Police who first investigated Billie-Jo’s death say ‘thought we failed is too much’ 
  • Schoolgirl was found in a pool of blood after being bludgeoned with a tent peg
  • Foster father Sion Jenkins found guilty of murder but later cleared after appeals 

Detectives who hunted for the murderer of Billie-Jo Jenkins say they are haunted by never catching her killer, admitting ‘The thought that we’ve actually failed’ is ‘too much to think about’.

Billie Jo was battered to death with an iron tent peg in February 1997 in the back garden of her Hastings home in East Sussex.

Her foster father Sion Jenkins was found guilty of her murder and spent six years in prison before being acquitted in 2006 following two retrials.

Currently DNA and blood tests are being reinvestigated after police ordered a forensic review of the evidence.

But the officers who originally investigated Billie-Jo’s murder have now spoken of their agony of never finding her killer.

DS Anne Capon, the first detective on the scene, said: ‘I think we tried our best, I hate to think we failed Billie-Jo, because she’s what it’s all about.

‘The thought that we’ve actually failed her because we haven’t done the job we could have done is too much to think about really.’

DS Anne Capon, the first detective on the crimescene, said: ‘I think we tried our best’

Billie-Jo Jenkins was found in a pool of blood in the back garden of foster father Sion Jenkins’ house in Hastings, East Sussex, on February 15, 1997

An 18inch iron tent spike, pictured, was used to bludgeon the schoolgirl to death

Sion Jenkins was found guilty of her murder and spent six years in prison before being acquitted in 2006 following two retrials

Speaking tonight on Channel 5 documentary Who Killed Billie-Jo, PC Steve Hutt adds: ‘Billie-Jo was a 13-year-old kid who lost her life. I wanted somebody to be actually held accountable for that crime.

‘For me it would be a great thing for me to see Sussex Police, crack on, reinvestigate, dust off those files and actually put it before the public so they can make a really well-informed decision based on the information that is there.’

Mr Jenkins was originally convicted of murdering Billie-Jo in 1998 and failed with an appeal a year later.

But following a two-year review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, his case was eventually brought back to the Court of Appeal in 2003 and a year later his conviction was quashed and he was released on bail ahead of a retrial, which ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict.

A second retrial at the Old Bailey in 2006 ended in the same way and Mr Jenkins was declared not guilty, with the CPS announcing it was not pursuing another retrial.

It is believed the full cost of the investigation, trials and subsequent appeals was around £10million.

Billie-Jo’s family has previously called for police to investigate M25 rapist Antoni Imiela over her death.

Retired officer Jeremy Paine said he hoped that the case would one day be solved for Billie-Jo

Sion Jenkins always said he was innocent and was freed after two retrials ending in 2006

Mr Jenkins had been one of the last people to see Billie-Jo alive before her murder in 1997

As reported by MailOnline, her aunt Margaret Costner demanded police look into Imiela’s whereabouts during the crime after claiming there were ‘similarities’ between her death and his other crimes.

Retired officer Jeremy Paine said he hoped that the case would one day be solved and justice done.

He tells the programme:  “what we mustn’t forget in all of this, there was a young girl who lived in the east end of London who was having a tricky time and was brought down to hastings to ostensibly a happy family, a vibrant family, to be given opportunities and have a better life.

‘I wouldn’t want us to go away from talking about this case, without thinking about Billie-Jo, because her life was cut short and she would have been well in her 30s now and she’s missed out on all of those opportunities.

‘It was a tragic, traumatic, hideous violent end to her life.’ 

The documentary includes the 999 call from Mr Jenkins in which he says: “My daughter’s fallen or she’s got head injuries. There’s blood everywhere.”

Prosecutors said the spatters were the result of Jenkins hitting Billie-Jo, but his defence team insisted they were a fine spray of her breath after he found her dying.

Officers will now re-examine the spots and assess whether they contain bone fragments, in addition to conducting new DNA tests on other pieces of evidence.

‘We are carrying out a forensic review of material to establish whether or not scientific advances can provide new lines of inquiry,’ Sussex Police said.

Who Killed Billie-Jo?, Channel 5, tonight at 9pm

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