After an evening visit to friends in Essex on Friday, November 30th, 1979, Sally Shepherd, of Peckham, south-east London, bought an Indian takeaway and just made it to the last bus at New Cross. The bus stopped at Clayton Road, final destination for its passengers.

“Do you think I could stay on board until the depot?” Sally asked the conductress. “It’s much closer to my home in Staffordshire Street.”

“Sorry, luv, it’s against the rules,” she was told. So Sally had to leg it the last few hundred yards home.

She never arrived. Somewhere along the silent streets she was picked up, stripped, raped, and battered to death. Her naked body was dumped, ironically, on one side of the police station yard. The Indian takeaway was strewn around her.

Sally suffered a number of broken ribs and a damaged spine. “If only she had managed to scream or call out she might be alive today,” said Superintendent Graham Melvin. “But the duty officers heard nothing unusual to alert them.”

The bus conductress remembered seeing a white Ford Cortina with a dark patch of primer on one wing parked in the High Street, and a man running out of Staffordshire Street. Another witness saw a man weeping and banging his head against a wall where Sally died.

In September, 1991, a 55-year-old man was arrested and questioned about the killing. He was released on bail, but no charge was ever brought.