Mother’s agony as body of sex worker found

Rachel Wilson, 19, went missing from the Southfield Road area of Middlesbrough
Rachel Wilson, 19, went missing from the Southfield Road area of Middlesbrough
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THE family of a teenager murdered after going missing a decade ago have made an emotional plea as police confirmed they had found her body.

Rachel Wilson, 19, disappeared from Middlesbrough, where she was a sex worker, in May 2002.Cleveland Police confirmed yesterday that human remains found at Newham Hall Farm on the outskirts of Middlesbrough were those of the missing woman and said they have reopened the investigation into her death.

Speaking at a Press conference at the force’s headquarters in Middlesbrough, her mother, Tina Wilson, said: “For the last 10 years we’ve been sure she’ll come in the house. On Friday we found out she wouldn’t.

“All I’m asking for is somebody that knows, come forward and let us know and let us find out what happened to Rachel.”

Ms Wilson’s remains were found in a hollow in the ground by a farmer, who was working on his land.

A 57-year-old man was arrested in 2003 but was released without charge.

Police said “at this moment” they are not treating the death as being linked to two others that happened around the same time.

Vicky Glass was 21 when she vanished from Middlesbrough town centre in 2000 and her body was found in Danby, in rural North Yorkshire. The body of Donna Keogh, who went missing from a Middlesbrough house party in 1998, has never been found.

Detectives confirmed that Ms Wilson’s case was never closed and a small team of officers is now working on the investigation again.

Experts, including forensic archaeologists, have also been involved and Detective Superintendent Peter McPhillips said the investigation will focus on those who frequented the area in which Ms Wilson’s body was found.

“Obviously one of our lines of inquiry is to see who was accessing that site and that may well encompass people who use prostitutes,” he said.

“My message to them is this – it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

He said the discovery represents “some closure” for Ms Wilson’s family but many fundamental questions remain.

“The anguish they have suffered over the years is unimaginable but they have never given up hope that Rachel will return home again,” he said.

“There’s been a post-mortem examination carried out and we cannot confirm how she died.

“It’s going to be really difficult. We have got no cause of death, there was no clothing there.”

He added that there was a chance police may never know how she died.

“Rachel disappeared in 2002 and at that time other girls disappeared. But there is nothing to suggest this is linked to other inquiries,” said Mr McPhillips.

During appeals at the time of Ms Wilson’s disappearance, police said they believed she was working as a prostitute in the Southfield Road area of Middlesbrough. Officers have already investigated and ruled out links with the Suffolk Strangler murders in 2006, for which forklift truck driver Steve Wright was sentenced to life imprisonment.

As with Ms Wilson’s case, no-one has yet been charged with murdering Ms Glass.

She was last seen leaving a pub in Middlesbrough in September 2000 and her naked and badly decomposed body was found dumped in a stream on bleak moorland in North Yorkshire the following November. Her clothing and possessions have never been found.

The hunt for the killer of Ms Glass still goes on and despite two arrests, no one has been charged with her murder.

The 21-year-old had turned to prostitution to feed her addiction to heroin. Speaking in 2006, her mother, Debbie Goodall, said: “One day I hope to see Vicky’s killer in court. I want to see his face and to see justice done.

“Even after all this time I believe there is someone out there who knows what happened and I say to them: ‘Please, speak to the police’.”

chris.bond@ypn.co.uk