MULTIPLE murder cases remain unsolved in south Essex after many years of investigations.
The lack of closure for families when losing a loved one in such tragic circumstances can be just as devastating as losing them.
If those responsible are brought to justice, it can enable some of those affected to find a way of moving forward.
But to have no answers on who was responsible will wrench at people every day that goes by.
Today in the Echo, we look at some of the unsolved murder cases which still hang over loved ones’ heads.
Shop owner Ladi Benson, 27, was stabbed to death in Chelmsford in November 2015. He was from Westcliff.
The father-of-two ran a shoe and clothes shop called Numero 88, based in Princes Street.
An inquest held into his death in 2016 heard his friends have refused to cooperate with the police.
As a result, they have not been able to follow lines of enquiry and his killer has never been identified.
In one of the most disturbing cases, Albert Williams, 67, was found dead in his small flat in Cedar Close, Southend, on August 8, 2015.
Mr Williams had been stamped on, strangled and set on fire.
Two men – Simon Smith, of no fixed address; and Anthony Smith, of Ceylon Road, Westcliff – were cleared of his murder in December 2016.
However, they were jailed for eight-and-a-half-years each for a violent burglary at his home seven days before his death.
They were said to have exploited his vulnerabilities and targeted him because of it, kicking and punching him taking a box containing £2,000.
Bulgarian national Denis Petkov, 19, died from a single stab wound to his neck in East Hanningfield Road, Rettendon, on March 11 in 2017.
A 39-year-old man was charged with his murder, but the case was dropped due to lack of evidence amid claims that he had acted in self-defence.
Mr Petkov’s family said at the time of his inquest that they had “no faith” in the justice system.
The body of homeless woman Angela Millington, 33, from Southend, was discovered on Foulness Island in June 2014.
DNA results did not identify her until more than a month later, and a mask of gaffer tape was around her face. A 66-year-old Eastwood man was arrested but never charged with her murder.
John Palmer, nicknamed Goldfinger due to his links to the £26m Brink’s-Mat gold bullion robbery at Heathrow in 1983, was shot at his South Weald home on June 24, 2015.
It is thought there could be up to 16,000 people with a motive for killing him, due to his timeshare scams.
Detectives have made no secret of his death being a targeted assassination.
In a hugely sad missing person case, mum-of-two Nicola Ray, 30, disappeared following a night out with friends in the early hours of May 2, 2000.
She was last seen in Basildon but was never seen again after that night.
A 47-year-old man was arrested but never charged in relation to her death.
In a fatal drive-by shooting, Ron Fuller, 30, was killed by a lone motorcyclist as he left his house in Parkside, Grays, at 7.45am on August 29, 2000. Mr Fuller had been working as a doorman at Epping Forest Country Club and had been arrested for public order offences. It followed the fatal stabbing of gangster’s son Darren Pearman.
Essex Police: ‘No case is closed but we need people’s help’
POLICE say no unsolved case is ever closed.
Essex Police have made numerous appeals for older murder cases in south Essex, including that of Andrea Daly.
Mrs Daly was killed in an arson attack at her home in Rochford Road, Southend, in 2005.
She and her two sons were asleep when a fire was started deliberately and posted through the letterbox of her front door on November 10.
Richard and Stuart, then aged 20 and 17, were forced to jump from a first-floor window.
But Andrea, 40, became trapped in her bedroom and died as a result of inhaling smoke.
Extensive enquiries have been carried out to try and find those responsible. But despite these efforts, they remain at large and their motives for starting the fire are unknown.
A further appeal for information was made in 2015, on the tenth anniversary of her death, and again in 2017. The killer has still not come forward or been found.
Essex Police say they constantly review all unsolved cases in the county.
Despite many years passing for many of the unsolved cases, police continually welcome anyone coming forward with information.
A spokesman for the force said: “We never close a case and where crimes remain unsolved, they are continually reviewed.
“This will include looking at original information and any fresh lines of enquiry, making use of any advances in technology and generating new appeals.
“It’s never too late for people to come forward with information relating to any crime and where that happens we investigate thoroughly to ensure we take all opportunities to bring criminals to justice and provide closure for those families concerned.”
Anyone with information on any unsolved case, can contact Essex Police on 101.
If people are concerned about their safety in reporting crime, they can share information anonymously with the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or crimestoppers-uk.org.