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Police file on murdered four-year-old Joyce Cox ‘must remain secret until 2040’

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Joyce Cox, 4, in the summer of 1939. She was abducted and murdered on September 28 1939

Police file on murdered four-year-old Joyce Cox ‘must remain secret until 2040’

By Martin Shipton

The cousin of a four-year-old girl murdered in the month that World War Two began has accused the Metropolitan Police of “a cover-up”, after a decision was made to close a crucial file on the case until 2040.

Joyce Cox was sexually assaulted and murdered in Cardiff when she was days short of her fifth birthday.

She disappeared when her older brother Dennis, seven, lost track of her as they walked home from school for lunch.

Joyce’s killer was never caught, although there were at least two suspects.

Ever since, members of her family have agonised about what happened.

Recently, her cousin Terry Phillips, 71, not born at the time she was abducted and killed, has been using the Freedom of Information Act to find out what he can about the case.
Met holds file on Joyce’s murder

At that time the Metropolitan Police in London often lent help to other forces in the investigation of serious crimes.

Mr Phillips has established that the Met holds documents relating to Joyce’s murder. When he asked for access, an official of the force decided to slap an order on the file, saying it had to be kept secret for 100 years after the events concerned – until January 2040.

A decision letter sent to Mr Phillips says: “A named subject who was a suspect is described derogatorily and should not be associated with these matters. As an unsolved murder, with potential of reinvestigation at any indeterminate stage, practice to close for 100 years is invoked.

The haunting mugshots of Cardiff’s drunks, pickpockets, bigamists and murderers from the early 20th century

“However unlikely – indeed remote – it may be that this case is re-opened, we have to afford for that possibility. Putting information into the public domain will include naming specific persons who may yet be identified.

These persons who may be living may have been witnesses and/or interviewees and who were not prosecuted and who therefore must be regarded as innocent parties.
DNA technology ‘could still identify killer’

“Persons will have given witness statements in the expectation that their information would not become public knowledge.”

Mr Phillips said: “I don’t accept the reason for refusing to release the documents. This smacks of a cover-up to me. As a result of this decision, which I am appealing against, I wouldn’t get access to the file until I was 96, even if I lived that long.

“Joyce’s murder had a devastating impact on the family. Dennis never forgave himself for letting Joyce out of his sight as they walked home. He never came to terms with it and died about eight years ago.”

The body of Joyce, who lived in the Whitchurch area of Cardiff, was found on a railway embankment near Coryton station. Close to her body, a copy of the Western Mail and a tobacco pouch were found.

Mr Phillips has been in touch with a leading forensic scientist who has told him that advances in DNA technology could make it possible to identify the killer.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/police-file-murdered-four-year-old-joyce-9123937

 

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