The 17-year-old girl had been so savagely attacked that it was impossible for doctors to determine whether she had been raped. Her throat was slashed, she had been repeatedly stabbed, and her bruised knuckles showed she had fought for her life.

Key punch operator Claire Woolterton had gone to an Ealing amusement arcade after her day’s work on Thursday, August 27th, 1981. “She wasn’t in a good mood,” said the arcade owner, who knew her. He was sufficiently concerned about her to offer her a lift home, which she declined.

Next day her severely mutilated body was found on a towpath separating Windsor’s Barry Avenue from the Thames. Detectives thought her killer was unaware of the towpath’s existence and in the darkness had assumed her corpse would drop into the river. The absence of blood indicated that she was murdered elsewhere.

Two women reported seeing a girl of Claire’s description being dragged into a car on the night of the murder, at the junction of Uxbridge Road and Yelding Lanes, Hayes. Her mother said she was “rather prudish,” and would never willingly have got into a car with a stranger.

The police dragnet was intense, but it yielded nothing.