Watch on Shots! TV: The chilling unsolved murders of Birmingham sisters Edna and Alice Rowley in 1987

Sisters Alice and Edna Rowley were murdered in 1987 in the corner shop they had run for half a century in Birmingham - but their killer has never been found

The shocking murders of elderly step-sisters Alice and Edna Rowley at their corner shop in Birmingham still concern the community today.

No one has ever been brought to justice for the brutal 1987 crime at Greswolde Stores in Sparkhill just before Christmas Day - on Saturday, December 23.

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Alice, aged 87, had been strangled with a scarf or towel, while 77 year-old Edna was smothered. The only items taken were two boxes of chocolates, a bottle of Tia Maria and a radio cassette player. The liquor and chocolates were the step-sisters’ Christmas presents to each other.

The pair had run the busy corner shop together for more than half a century. When West Midlands Police officers entered the property they found an untouched meal on the table close to the bodies.

One of Birmingham’s biggest ever manhunts was launched. More than 1,600 statements were taken and more than 5,000 inquiries were made. But the murder has never been solved.

Edna and Alice Rowley murdered in 1987 in Sparhill, BirminghamEdna and Alice Rowley murdered in 1987 in Sparhill, Birmingham
Edna and Alice Rowley murdered in 1987 in Sparhill, Birmingham | BW
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The initial theory that they had interrupted a burglary was scrubbed after detectives found no signs of forced entry. It is believed the trusting pair who handed out sweets to local children had invited the killer into their home.

The crime scene, free from blood traces, footprints or unidentified fingerprints, yielded few clues. An empty crisp packet – not a variety sold at the store – was found and may have belonged to the attacker.

At the step-sisters’ inquest, coroner Dr Richard Whittington described the killings as “atrocious and vicious”. He added: “Someone must have an overwhelming load of guilt on their conscience.” Hopefully, they are still haunted by that guilt today.

In an exclusive video package for National World, which premieres at 8.30pm tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 20) on Shots! (Freeview - Channel 276) we take a look back over the unsolved case and question how the killer has evaded justice with award-winning Birmingham journalist Mike Lockley and former West Midlands Police Head of CID John Plimmer.

You can also watch the mini documentary here now - Fading Trails: The Unsolved Murders of Alice & Edna

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