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UK SUSAN DONOGHUE: Nurse murdered in Bristol - 1976

Discussion in 'Europe: Cold Cases' started by Lily, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Detectives hunting the killer of a nurse bludgeoned to death at her home 40 years ago have made a DNA breakthrough.

    Susan Donoghue was sexually assaulted and killed with a truncheon by an intruder in Bristol on 4 August 1976.


    The truncheon used to murder Susan Donoghue on 4 August 1976. Photograph: Avon and Somerset Police/PA
    The body of the 44-year-old was discovered in her basement flat by her partner. Donoghue had been unwell and had taken the night off from work when she was attacked in bed as she slept. She was hit seven times with a truncheon, which was left behind along with a pair of bloodstained gloves and a tobacco tin. Despite an extensive investigation the killer was never caught.

    But due to advances in scientific technology Avon and Somerset police now have a full DNA profile of the suspect.

    Ladyslug, spike and Paradise like this.
  2. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

  3. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Susan Donoghue murder: 40th anniversary appeal

    Today (05/08) marks the 40th anniversary of the Susan Donoghue murder.

    Susan was 44-years-old when she was murdered in her basement flat at 45 Downleaze, Sneyd Park, Bristol on August 5 1976.

    Susan, who was a night sister at Brentry Hospital, had been bludgeoned to death and had been sexually assaulted.

    Susan Donoghue
    Despite an extensive murder inquiry at the time, Susan’s killer has never been located.

    However, due to advances in DNA technology, we now have a full DNA profile of the offender.

    DCI Julie MacKay, who recently led the team which secured the conviction of Christopher Hampton for the 1984 murder of Melanie Road, is heading up the investigation.

    She said: “As we saw with the Melanie Road case, the passage of time since a murder is no longer an obstacle in securing justice for these victims.

    “The technology used in DNA forensics has come a long way since Susan was murdered and we now have a full DNA profile of the man who sexually abused and murdered her.

    “Similarly to the Melanie Road murder investigation, the key to solving this horrific crime is in the painstaking and methodical work my team is undertaking to make sure all the information we have is on the right systems.

    “I am convinced that someone out there has information on what happened that August night in 1976.

    "I would appeal directly to them, or the killer himself, to come forward now and bring an end to the 40 years of heartache Susan’s family and friends have had to endure."

    “Susan was a well-liked and respected woman who was brutally murdered in her own home and I am determined to bring her killer to justice.”

    Anyone with information is asked to call 101 now and quote Operation Radar. Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


    • Wednesday August 4: Susan was suffering from a cold so she took the night off work. Her partner left her flat at approximately 00:15am on August 5.

    • Thursday August 5: At 7.15am, Susan’s partner returns to the flat and finds Susan’s body in bed. She had suffered serious head injuries. A pair of gloves and a truncheon are also found at the scene with Susan’s blood on.

    • Evidence suggested that Susan had been subjected to a sexual assault and forensic tests confirmed the presence of human semen.

    • A footprint was found on the inside windowsill of a half opened window in the room adjacent to the bedroom.


    • 1976: The original investigation consisted of more than 80 officers and last more than 12 months. Several men were arrested but later eliminated from the investigation.

    • 1995: A review of the case is undertaken. The DNA from the semen is put on the National DNA Database but there is no hit.

    • 1997/98: A further review takes place. There is also a mass screening of potential suspects identified from the original investigation. Crimestoppers also run a renewed appeal for information. There is still no match on the database.

    • 2005: The DNA profile is upgraded due to advances in technology and remains on the National DNA Database. Some familial DNA screening is conducted but the offence remains undetected.

    • 2009: Another familial DNA run is conducted but there is still no hit.

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  4. Lily

    Lily Bronze Member

    Brother's fresh hope for justice as net closes on killer who bludgeoned Northern Ireland nurse Susan Donoghue to death as she slept

    Her brother Seamus McGeary (72), who still lives at the family home near Fintona in Co Tyrone, was told of the development in the last few days. He said it came as a shock, but believes it could be the first step to finally nailing Susan's killer.

    "It was a surprise, I thought everything was gone because so many years have gone by," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

    "They have made great strides in technology, so maybe they will get somebody. That is about all I can hope for. It would help bring some closure for me."

    Susan's murder, during the famously hot summer of 1976, horrified the UK. She was found dead in her basement flat at Sneyd Park, Bristol.

    The 44-year-old had been bludgeoned to death and sexually assaulted. Despite an extensive murder inquiry at the time, her killer was never caught.

    Seamus added: "Susan was brutally murdered. "They thought maybe it was someone in the hospital where she worked, but they never got anybody.

    "Like thousands of other people, even in our own country here, I've never given up hope.

    "But years and years have passed and they didn't get anyone, and you wonder if the person they were looking for has passed away themselves."

    Susan grew up as part of a large family in Lisnacrieve, near Fintona, and attended the local primary school and Loreto Grammar School in Omagh.

    Later she moved to Belfast where she trained as a nurse, and got a job in Kent.

    Some time afterwards she married and relocated to the Channel Islands. But the marriage broke down, and she moved to Bristol, where Seamus and two other brothers were living. She got engaged to a new man, Dennis, and at the time of her death was working as a night sister at Brentry, the local psychiatric hospital.

    According to police she was attacked in bed as she slept. She had been unwell and had taken the night off from work. Her killer hit her seven times with a truncheon, which was left behind along with a pair of bloodstained gloves and a tobacco tin.

    Detectives had few clues or tip-offs and failed to come up with a motive. They were unable to trace several people who were in the area, including a mysterious "man in dark glasses" seen near a local church at the time of her funeral.

    Another man - possibly the same person - was seen two months later at Susan's graveside, examining the inscriptions on the flowers and wreaths. Police also failed to track down a clairvoyant who Susan was due to see a fortnight before she died. The appointment had been ringed in her diary, but cancelled.

    Previously Det Supt John Robinson, who led a 20-strong murder investigation team, said the killer may have been a petty housebreaker.

    Now, 40 years on, a new team of detectives has made a major breakthrough, building a full DNA profile of the killer. The same techniques were used to secure the conviction earlier this year of Christopher Hampton for the 1984 murder of Melanie Road.

  5. BettyJean

    BettyJean Active Member

    I think it was someone she knew what happen to her new fiancé Dennis?
    spike and Ladyslug like this.

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