THE unsolved murder of Exeter schoolgirl Kate Bushell is to be reopened in a massive operation to solve some of Britain’s most notorious killings.
Millions of pounds are to be spent on the review which will see an elite team of detectives and officers attempt to snare the killers wanted for more than 50 brutal murders.
And a city detective who has worked on the Kate Bushell case has welcomed the news with “open arms”.
The 14-year-old had her throat cut as she walked a neighbour’s dog in Exwick, in November 1997. Her body was found in a field around 700 yards from her family home in Burrator Drive by her father Jeremy, 44.
Local residents said they saw a blood-soaked man running from the area minutes before the horrifying discovery — but he has never been found.
Police in Exeter have always remained confident that they could catch Kate’s killer.
It is now hoped that through Operation Stealth her murder can finally be solved.
Detective Superintendent John Clements, head of public protection for Devon and Cornwall police, said city cops had continued to work on the case whenever funding became available.
“I would welcome this review with open arms,” he told the Echo.
“We have always tried to access other funds to allow us to continue doing forensic work on the case of Kate Bushell.
“DNA and forensic technology is always developing but the costs can be extremely high.
“We’ve tapped into funds when we can in order to do additional work but it has been to no avail. I would welcome any further support to investigate this murder.
“While these murders stay undetected, we always want to catch someone for them.
“We review any potential opportunities that come our way. A fresh pair of eyes and more resources to look at forensics will be welcome.”
The £20m review will also see officers look at the killing of Linda Bryant, whose murder has been linked to that of Kate Bushell.
The 41-year-old housewife died from stab wounds to her neck and chest after she was subjected to a horrific attack while out walking with her dog in Truro, Cornwall, in October 1998.
The killing of Kate featured in a book about unsolved murders, which was published last year.
A chapter in Britain’s Ten Most Wanted is devoted to her case.
And on the 10th anniversary of Kate’s death in 2007, the Echo spoke the schoolgirl’s mother Suzanne who said her daughter’s murder had left a huge “void” in her life.
The Echo contacted the family liaison officer for Kate’s family yesterday who said she was not aware the case was to be reopened.