This week marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of Claire Tiltman. She was stabbed in an alleyway in Greenhithe on her way to meet a friend.
Despite the enormous efforts put in by many people, her killer has never been brought to justice and both her parents died without knowing who killed their only child. Her friends are now leading a campaign to keep the case in the public eye and bring justice for Claire.
I didn’t know Claire personally but we were both at Dartford Grammar School for a while. I remember clearly when she died how everyone in the area was talking about the murder. People were stunned that someone so young could be killed in this brutal way. I doubt that the sorrow felt about this incident will ever diminish.
Last year, after contacting Claire’s father, I went to see the Cold Case Review Team at the Serious Crime Directorate in Chatham to discuss this case. It was clear from talking to them that they have never given up hope of catching Claire’s killer. The investigation remains active and is following-up leads all the time. They are, however, frustrated that no-one has been held to account for what is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most horrific unsolved crimes. Detective Superintendent Owen Taylor led the investigation into the offence in the early stages and worked closely with Claire’s family. Sadly he too died before a conviction could take place.
The murder of Claire Tiltman remains one of the most tragic events in the history of this Borough. A decent, popular, young girl had her life brutally cut short and her family had their lives ripped apart. Twenty years later there is still no conviction or closure. I hope that the efforts of her friends, the Kent Police and the whole community can one day ensure that the person responsible for this attack is brought to justice.