The murder of street prostitute Carol Clark from Bristol UK remains unsolved
Carol Clark was last seen on the streets of Montpelier, Bristol on 26th March 1993. Two days later on 28th March Carol’s lifeless & partially-clothed body was found 30 miles away. She had been strangled, her neck broken and she had been dumped on the banks of a canal at Sharpness docks near Berkeley, Gloucestershire.
She was found in an area known to locals as Swans nest, an area of wasteland used by courting couples. Whilst the area was fairly isolated from the docks it was easily seen from a passing pleasure boat. If as thought Carol was dumped on a Sunday afternoon then there is a great chance that some would have been out on the water.
Detectives are convinced that despite the fact Carol seems to have disappeared on Friday 26th March 1993 she was probably not killed until late on Saturday night or early hours of Sunday morning. According to my research, the weather was quite blustery with some rain over the weekend of 26th and 27th March so I am assuming that added to the investigation’s results.
It seems that Carol had a meal of diced meat, potato and vegetables possibly a meat pasty, although no mention of pastry, around two hours before her death but nobody seems to know who she ate with if anyone or indeed where. So where had Carol been in the 40 hours or so between last being seen and 4 pm on Sunday 28th March when she was found dead?
She obviously had no plans to stay out overnight as she had not taken her methadone with her. She knew without that she would wake up angry and feeling very unwell due to withdrawal symptoms.
There was no evidence of Carol having tried to defend herself or try to fight off her killer, thus indicating that the attack must have been sudden as well as brutal. Why was she murdered? That seems to be the big question.
The other key question in this enquiry is; “Why did the killer decide to dump his victim on the canal bank”? He could have easily been seen as it was almost certainly daylight when the murder took place. The body was obviously going to be found quite quickly and the risk of the killer’s identity being revealed.
One thing that stands out a little in this investigation is that items of clothing presumably taken from Carol have never been found. The items were A blue denim mini-skirt, A brown leather jacket, a black polo neck sweater and a baseball cap. carol had the set outfit that she went to look for punters in with cowboy boots on her feet.
A little bit of background
Carol grew up in a suburb of Bristol called Yate with her parents Peter and Phyllis, both hard-working and dedicated to giving their daughter the best in life. When she was 17 Carol left home to work in a hotel in Bristol.
Carol was good at school and did quite well but tragically turned to drug abuse, using heroin and crack in her early 20s. She then turned to prostitution, working on the streets of Bristol to fund her habit.
In 1987 Carol had been involved in an incident whilst attending a party in Bath. She was thrown out and in the scuffle and rush of being ejected from the property, she left her heroin substitute bottle of methadone behind. A three-year-old child, Kieran Shepard drank the methadone and died.
In January 1993 Carol moved in with an electrician, Brian. They lived together in his basement flat in Picton Street, Bristol. Despite taking prescribed methadone as a substitute for heroin Carol continued to use hard drugs including crack cocaine.
On the night that Carol disappeared Brian had arranged to go out with his friends. He called home from his mobile at 12.30 am and Carol told him she was hungry and asked him to bring her a kebab when he came home. At 2.20 am Brian arrived home to find the lights on in the flat but no sign of Carol. She had left a note timed at 1.30 am saying she had gone to find one last punter and would be home by the latest 2.30 am, but she never returned.
Friday 26th March had been an unusually quiet night for Carol and ladies of the night in Bristol and she had returned home earlier than normal but at around 1.30 am Carol realised that she needed drugs which she would have to get money for so she set out again to find a punter, she was never seen again.
There is a report of a woman being seen getting out of the passenger seat a battleship grey Volvo car at around 9.30 am on Saturday 27th March. The woman was blonde and wearing a baseball cap and according to the witness that made the report, the woman was described as appearing to have just woken up and did not seem to know where she was. This could well have been Carol Clark, but then where did she go until her death on Sunday?
The driver of the car was described as in his 40s, sturdily built with carrot red short hair. He had parked the car around 300 yards from where Carol’s body was eventually found.
The question I have for this case is; “Why was Carol Clark taken 30 miles away to be dumped”? If she was killed because of a drug debt or similar then why drive her so far out? Was she killed where she was found or murdered in Bristol and driven into Gloucestershire?
Despite Carol being a prostitute, there were no obvious signs of her having recently had sexual intercourse in the hours leading up to her death. The forensic pathologist's report says that if she had been sexually active it must have been quite a gentle act and with a condom being worn by the male, assuming she was with a male of course.
Gloucestershire police found Carol’s diary where she kept details of many of her clients. They managed to contact most of them, except for 10, they were never traced. They also looked into her drug record and although the facts couldn't be proved beyond doubt it seemed likely that there were no ‘drugs debts’ over her.
So why was Carol murdered? Had she spent some unplanned time with someone, woken up in a bad state due to withdrawal and possibly become loud or even violent? Did the person that she was with have to ‘shut her up? The biggest anomaly there is if she spent a length of time with a client then why was there no evidence of sexual activity?
One final word on this, for now, is that despite an appeal by police the owner of the alleged grey Volvo never came forward to be eliminated and the vehicle was never found.
I will leave it there for this case. sadly this is a story of yet another sex worker who had fallen foul of illegal and dangerous drugs and ended up working the streets as a prostitute in order to fund that addiction.
No books have been written or documentaries made about Carol Clark because she was a street sex worker and of little importance to many, but let us remember this was a woman, a girlfriend, a daughter and probably a sibling, she deserves the same justice as any other victim.
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UPDATE. . .UPDATE. . .UPDATE
Great news as there has today been an arrest in this case.
A 66-year-old male has been arrested and is helping Gloucestershire with their enquiries.
If you have any further information please call Gloucestershire Police on 101 as soon as possible
We will bring further updates as developments come in