Jean Bradley – 25th March 1993
This episode is the last in an accidental trilogy. I didn’t set out with the idea of doing another mini-series on the senseless deaths of women of a similar status at the hands of another angry and violent man who is evading justice to this day, but they have all, at one time or another been tenuously linked by the popular press with each other.
Janice Weston was murdered changing a tyre by a roadside, near her car. Penny Bell was viciously murdered in her car. Both were successful thoroughly modern women whose murders had a connection involving a car. The Modus Operandi of the two attackers was quite different, although it seems likely that both women knew their own killer, but the car is not the linking feature, and the two cases ended up being disentangled in the press over the coming months, but some ideas linger, no matter how incorrect they are.
There is a striking difference between the linking of Janice and Penny, and that of Penny and the subject of today’s appeal. There’s even a suspect shared between them, but the suspect is stronger in today’s episode than the link to Penny’s murder. She, like Penny and Janice was a successful business woman high up in her field. Another woman killed by an angry man by her car.
A little house keeping. I’m going to have to take a small break, the unremitting wall of human effluent that is the stock and trade of true-crime can be a bit much, and my immune system is having one of its more active periods. In combination, this too much right now. Living with an autoimmune/autoinflammatory condition is a real pain in the neck, and my body needs a little recovery time. I’m hoping to be back by the start of December. When I come back, I’m hoping to begin including a few podcast promos for other shows. What would be the preferred place for them to go? Let me know below.
Thanks for listening, take care and keep sharing these appeals, please.
Ruth Penelope “Penny” Bell – 6th June 1991
Penny Bell, as most people will know her, was born in 1948. Her family life seems to have been a happy and healthy one. In 1981 she married her boyfriend, Alistair Bell. They had met in 1975. The marriage would be Penny’s second, the first ending in divorce some years earlier. Together Penny and Alistair would both become successful people employed at the director level. Alistair was a director of an estate agency, that’s a realtor for the American audience, and Penny was the director of a Human Resource agency with a specialism in the supply of high-quality catering staff. Her business was doing well with an annual turnover of around £3 million, and Penny was earning around £80,000 – good money for 1991 when there was a recession on.
At 12.15, metropolitan Police were called to the car park of the Gurnell Leisure Centre in Greenford, West London. A woman had been taken ill in the car park. An hour or so earlier, two other women using the facilities had seen the car, a powder-blue Jaguar XJS, parked in a bay with the hazard lights on and the windscreen wipers on. They had looked inside and saw a woman they thought was asleep, so went on to their exercise. Only when they returned an hour later did they check again, this time they saw a little more and the police were called. Carefully the attending officers opened the door to find a scene of utter horror. Penny Bell sat in the driver’s seat dead from massive blood loss caused by a savage attack with a bladed implement. The car-park was immediately sealed and became a crime scene that would be meticulously examined by forensic and uniformed officers.
Grief affects everyone differently and this poor family were torn apart by this man in their mothers car that June day in 1991.
Janice Carole Weston - 11th September 1983
In 1982 Janice and Tony were to end up as a couple. Two wealthy people with Janice being a leading solicitor, first with Herbert Oppenheimer, Nathan & Vandyke, immediately after college, and then Charles Russell and Co as a partner. Janis’ drive was monumental and as well as writing a book on the emerging computer data legal framework, she also helped to set-up a network for professional women in business and law. The neat and tidy child had become a force of nature.
By some odd quirk of fate, Janice experienced a puncture in the rear near-side wheel, the one with the spare on it. This was the reason she pulled in to the layby, the tyre needed changing. It was during this unscheduled and most likely unwelcomed stop, that Janice’s killer attacked her.
The killer didn’t bother to hide her body or make it look like a robbery as she was still wearing her gold watch and wedding ring. After killing her, the murderer simply got back in her car and drove away.
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