A jury in Winchester has acquitted a 33 year old man from Bishopstoke of the murder of frail widow Georgina Edmonds at her Brambridge Home four years ago.
Mrs Edmonds had been tortured for a bank card PIN number before being bludgeoned to death.
The trial had followed an extensive police operation to find the killer, codenamed ‘Columbian’ which offered of a reward of £30,000 for information that would lead to a successful conviction.
The first suspects to be immediately taken in for questioning in January 2008 were residents at an Otterbourne hostel used for rehabilitating ex-offenders.
Soon after they were eliminated Police announced they wanted to trace two suspects who had been seen at Brambridge Garden Centre on the day of the murder.
In the weeks that followed members of the local Polish community then came under suspicion and posters in Polish were plastered on pillars in the Town Centre appealing for information.
Some Poles living on Twyford Road were taken in for questioning and Hampshire Detectives even flew out to Poland to pursue enquires.
In November 2008 a BBC TV ‘Crimewatch’ reconstruction was filmed at the murder scene.
By January 2010 the investigation was focused on Boyatt and North Eastleigh with a mass leaflet drop and DNA swabbing of suspects and volunteers from the same area.
In January 2011, the third anniversary of the murder, Police announced a potential breakthrough after an unspecified item was found in Otterbourne close to Poles Lane.
When the accused was arrested in Bishopstoke in June 2010 it was revealed that he had been living in Newtown at the time of the Murder. The accused was bailed, days later and not charged until February 2011.
Hampshire Constabulary issued the following statement:
The police, Crown Prosecution Service and prosecuting counsel have worked tirelessly to put together and present the evidence they believe demonstrates who was responsible for this shocking crime.
The investigation has been one of the biggest murder inquiries ever conducted by Hampshire Constabulary.
It is the policy of Hampshire Constabulary that unsolved homicides are never closed. This investigation will be reviewed in accordance with the criteria set out under national guidelines.
Our thoughts are with Mrs Edmonds’ family and members of the local community who still seek some form of closure and to see justice done.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall tweeted:
Detectives had declared that the man pictured on CCTV trying to use the victim’s cash card at the Tesco Express on Twyford Road was the Murderer.
Today, the man they believed was the same man in the video walked free.
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