Research for book on footballer leads to killer after 28 years

A MAN who got away with murder for 28 years was yesterday told he would die in jail for killing a mother and her two daughters.

Tony Dyce, 54, thought he had got away with murder until journalist Peter Law began research for a book about footballer Laurie Cunningham.

His inquiries triggered a cold case police review and Dyce was arrested last year.

Yesterday, he was found guilty of murdering Norma Richards, 27, and her daughters Samantha, nine and Syretta, seven, in July 1982, at their home in Dalston, north-east London.

Old Bailey Judge Anthony Morris gave him three life sentences but also told him it would be a whole life term.

Miss Richards was the partner of Mr Cunningham's brother Keith, and the girls were from a previous relationship.

The couple's daughter, Rhodene, who was only four at the time, escaped death because she was staying at her grandmother's for the weekend.

Yesterday, she was in court to see the killer jailed at last.

Miss Cunningham, 32, found the bodies after returning to the flat where the family lived with her grandmother.

She said: "I was really scared. My mum was just lying there covered in blood. I ran upstairs and my sisters were in the bath. They were dead too.

"I couldn't understand who would want to hurt them."

Judge Morris told Dyce, of Forest Gate in east London, that he had been a sexual predator who habitually carried a knife.

But he had not been suspected because he had only been a minor acquaintance of Mr Cunningham and Miss Richards.

He had followed Miss Richards home from a club knowing Mr Cunningham was with his brother in Spain where he was playing for Real Madrid.

He then raped her and stabbed her to death.

One or other of the girls may have been woken by the noise and killed to stop them talking.

However, it was only through advances in DNA that Dyce was eventually arrested in October last year.

Judge Morris told Dyce: "These were offences of unspeakable brutality and utmost gravity.

"You got away with these offences for 28 years and since your arrest last year, you have shown no remorse whatsoever.

"I am satisfied the seriousness of these offences is exceptionally high and you should never be released."

Aftab Jafferjee QC, prosecuting, told the trial that Ms Richards had been raped and stabbed five times.

The girls were found in a bath filled with water.

Samantha had been stabbed eight times and Syretta was drowned.

Mr Jafferjee said: "It is an irresistible inference that her children awoke to see their mother being raped or murdered.

"Their crime was to have seen their mother's attacker and so their young lives had to be violently snuffed out."

Dyce tried to cover his tracks by daubing the National Front NF sign on walls and doors.

"The diversion was doomed to failure and not even the original 1982 investigations fell for that," he said.

Many people were arrested and interviewed but no one was charged.

Laurie Cunningham, who made his name playing for West Bromwich Albion, died aged 33 in a car crash in Spain in 1989. He was the first black player to represent England at any level.