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New details released following murder of Shelley Morgan in 1984

Shelley Morgan
Shelley Morgan
There is 1 related update to this story

We’re releasing new information relating to the murder of Shelley Morgan who disappeared exactly 35 years ago today.

33-year-old Shelley, who was born in America, left her home in Dunkerry Road, Bristol, at about 8.30am on Monday 11 June 1984 and dropped her two children off at school, before heading towards Leigh Woods near Ashton Court, where she planned to spend the day sketching and taking photographs.

When she failed to pick her children up or return home, the police were called and a missing person inquiry was launched.

Tragically, on Sunday 14 October 1984, children playing in a wooded copse off Long Lane in Backwell Hill discovered Shelley’s remains. A forensic post-mortem examination confirmed she’d suffered multiple stab wounds and there was evidence the brutal attack had been sexually motivated.

Today, we’re releasing new information relating to the investigation into Shelley’s death, which is being led by the Major Crime Review Team (MCRT).

Specifically, we’re releasing images of two postcards which may have a significant bearing on our investigation.

A postcard of Clifton Terraces from Bower Ashton.
A postcard of Clifton Terraces from Bower Ashton.
A postcard of St Andrew's Church in Backwell
A postcard of St Andrew’s Church in Backwell

The tear-off postcards are from a calendar sold by the local Bristol Hospice charity in the 1980s or 1990s. One is of a scene overlooking the River Avon in Bristol, taken from Bower Ashton – just below the Clifton Suspension Bridge, while the other is of St Andrew’s Church, from the direction of Backwell Hill. Both locations are significant as they are linked to the areas where Shelley was heading for on the day she disappeared, and where her body was found five months later.

We’d like to speak to anyone who may have bought this calendar or who kept the tear-off postcards with these specific images, possibly for some time.

DS Sarah Barnston, of the MCRT, said: “Shelley was passionately interested in art and the theatre and was attending art classes at the Bristol Polytechnic Art College. She left home that day intending to photograph and sketch in the Leigh Woods area so it’s possible her work and the locations she was visiting that day hold the key to her killer’s identity. We remain of the belief that her killer must have had access to a vehicle and may have had links through work or other associations to Backwell and possibly the Leigh Woods or Clifton areas of Bristol.

“In addition, Shelley’s camera equipment has never been found, particularly an Olympus OM20 camera, which cost £130 at the time. This camera is still popular with collectors and photography students now. The missing 35mm camera will have the serial number 1032853 on it.

An Olympus OM20
An Olympus OM20

Have you seen this camera? Do you own a camera matching this description and with the serial number 1032853?

“Shelley was carrying the camera, along with a tripod and sketching materials in a large patchwork-style shoulder bag. This bag has never been found, nor has the clothing she was wearing, including red-framed glasses.

“Although there were numerous sightings of Shelley on the day she went missing, in both the Bristol and Backwell areas, none have been confirmed.

“Our latest re-investigation has identified new material of interest which may have forensic potential, utilising the latest scientific techniques. We’re keeping Shelley’s family updated on any progress. Her sister recently flew over from the USA to meet some of our team and we’re as committed as ever to solving Shelley’s murder and bringing the person or people responsible to justice.

“It’s impossible to imagine the pain and anguish Shelley’s family have felt over the years and understand the impact her murder has had on her two children, who’ve been left without a mother for the majority of their lives.

“I would urge anyone with information, no matter how small, to come forward. Loyalties and relationships change over time and there may be someone who didn’t feel able to speak to us at the time, but who may be in a position to do so now.”

If you can help, or have information relevant to this investigation, please call the Major Crime Review Team on 101 or contact them via our website here: www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact-us/