Mystery over death of mum, 40, stabbed while walking dog 25 years ago as police issue fresh appeal to catch her killer | The Sun

POLICE have issued a fresh bid to catch the killer of a mum who was stabbed to death while walking her dog 25 years ago.

Lyn Bryant, 40, was the victim of a "brutal and prolonged" attack in a secluded spot near her home in Cornwall on October 20, 1998.

Her body was discovered with multiple stab wounds in a field but despite a high-profile investigation, her killer has never been found.

Police have now released a fresh appeal on the 25th anniversary of the sexually-motivated killing.

A £20,000 reward has also been offered by Crimestoppers for any information that could lead to a conviction.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Rob Smith said: "For 25 years the family of Lyn Bryant have lived with this terrible loss and uncertainty.

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"However, time has not diminished our commitment to bring the killer to justice and to give the family some peace.

"We know that 25 years is a long time but we remain convinced that someone knows what happened to Lyn and for some reason they have never come forward.

"Allegiances may have changed with the passage of time and those who found it difficult to talk to police may now feel able. Now is the time to contact us."

On the morning of her death, Lyn went to work as a cleaner at a local house before visiting her parents who lived nearby.

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At around 14.45pm, the mum-of-two drove her grey Ford Sierra to former Harris Garage at Tregony but they were out of fuel.

She then made her way to Chenoweth garage at Ruan High Lanes and bought fuel and groceries.

Chillingly, a white van that was on the forecourt followed Lyn as she drove away.

The driver, a heavy set man in his 50s with a scruffy beard, had been seen in the area in the days before the killing but he was not known to locals.

Police confirmed more than 6,700 similar white vans have been traced and eliminated over the course of the investigation.

After leaving the petrol station, Lyn returned home for lunch with her 19-year-old daughter Erin where they spoke about her upcoming birthday plans and watched Emmerdale.

Just after 1.30pm, Lyn set off on her usual dog walk with pet Jay, a tan and cream coloured lurcher.

At the time, she was wearing a brown Barbour-style wax jacket, a blue jumper, jeans and walking boots.

Lyn was seen by several people on the "habitual" walk as she headed towards Ruan High Lanes Methodist Chapel, now a private home.

One reported seeing the mum speak to a 5ft 9ins man dressed in light-coloured clothing, possibly a light grey top and trousers.

Police say this sighting is "critical" as it could be the last time Lyn was seen alive.

Despite repeated appeals, the man – like the mysterious van driver – has never come forward.

Lyn's body was found by a woman driving from her holiday home at around 2.30pm.

She had suffered knife wounds to her back and neck and a fatal stab wound to her chest with no attempt made to conceal her body.

DI Smith added: "We know that she must have fought against her attacker. Her clothing had been disturbed which leads us to conclude that this was a sexually-motivated murder.

"The weapon, believed to be a single-edged blade such as a penknife or a small kitchen knife, has never been found."

Between 2.45pm and 3pm, a third man was seen randomly walking across a field near to the murder scene.

He was described as aged in his mid-30s, of medium height and a medium to stocky build.

The man had short dark hair and was wearing a light-coloured top, possibly a sweatshirt, and darker-coloured trousers.

Again, this person has never come forward in the 25 years since Lyn was found.

At the time of her death, Lyn was wearing tortoiseshell glasses but cops couldn't find them during a fingertip search of the crime scene and surrounding area.

Weirdly, the glasses suddenly reappeared on top of the mud in the gateway where her body was found four months later.

DI Smith said: "The reappearance of Lyn's glasses remains a real mystery in this case.

"Why were they put back there? Were they found by somebody and returned to the scene or were they put there by the murderer?"

Devon and Cornwall Police launched Operation Grenadine – one of the force's biggest murder enquiries – following the killing.

They traced 1,600 people to establish their whereabouts, took 7,863 statements, completed 3,144 house-to-house enquiries and traced and eliminated 6,573 vehicles.

Officers also pieced together the movements of all men aged between 14 and 70 who lived in a one-mile radius.

They believe Lyn's killer had a local connection due to the isolated murder location.

Police have since been able to make a partial DNA profile of the suspected killer thanks to advances in technology.

They have been re-taking samples from people across the UK who either gave their DNA previously or are on the National DNA Database.

Since October 2016, 224 samples have been re-tested to check them against the DNA profile.

DI Smith said: "Lyn lived in Ruan High Lanes her whole life and was very popular with so many people.

"She was a wife, mother, and grandmother, and loved family life. She would have felt extremely safe in that area and walked for miles each day with her dog around the quiet lanes.

"For her life to be taken in such a brutal and horrific way is extremely sad. Her family have never found peace knowing that the offender remains free – 25 years have gone by but this has not lessened the pain of what happened to her that awful day.

"We maintain the view that the public holds the key to this investigation. I would urge anyone who had suspicions about any relative, friend or colleague who was acting suspiciously around the time of the murder to please come forward and help us bring some peace to Lyn's family.

"Now is the time."

Anyone with information can speak to police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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