Diane Jones — Unsolved Murder

A 35-year-old housewife vanished from her front garden gate whilst her husband parked the car. She was two months pregnant and seemed to know that she was going to disappear

Diane Jones disappeared from outside her Essex home on July 23rd 1983

Diane Jones had been out for the evening to the Woolpack Inn in Coggeshall, Essex with her husband. Whilst her husband Doctor Robert Jones parked the car she simply vanished, only for her body to be found three months later in undergrowth at Brightwell, near Martlesham.

Doctor Jones said that he dropped his wife at the front gate of their home as she didn’t want to scratch her high heels on the gravel near the garage.

Diane’s body was badly battered and decomposed when she was found. She had a fractured skull and it seems she had died pretty soon after she disappeared. She was found at around 3.30 pm on October 22nd, 1983.

In November of the same year Doctor Robert Jones, his ex-wife Sue Smith, and Paul Barnes of Church Street, Maldon were arrested and interviewed at length. Doctor Jones was interviewed for a shocking 55 hours but all three were released without charge.

One of the most interesting points of this case, in my opinion, is that the disappearance was not reported for nine days after Diane vanished, of course then Essex police began to investigate but there was already a big gap in the time frame.

The site close to where Diane Jones’s body was found, the photo was taken in 2014

This case attracted national media attention and as a result, information came to light that Diane Jones had been seen arguing with her husband on the night that she vanished. During the time that she spent in the Woolpack, staff described her as ‘drunk’ and it seems that she fell backward from a bar stool.

At pub closing time it is reported that Diane refused to leave the pub, telling the doctor “I’m not going home with you, you’ll beat me up”. Doctor Jones is then reported to have put his dog and Diane’s handbag into the car and then returned for his wife.

Diane again refused to leave and had to be manhandled and carried to the car by Doctor Jones, that was the last actual time that Mrs. Jones was seen alive. The place where the Jones lived was quite a lonely place on a quiet road so no one saw her when she was dropped off if she was.

When Diane’s body was found she had suffered four separate fractures to her skull and according to forensic reports she had been beaten with a slater’s hammer or something very similar with a long spike on one side and a square hammerhead on the other.

An inquest was held at Ipswich Crown Court in April 1984 a Home Office pathologist, Geoffrey Gresham said that given the warm weather of summer 1983 he believed that Diane’s body had been in the copse since late July or very early August 1983. This is very indicative of the fact that Doctor Jones did not report his wife missing for nine days.

Curiously, before his wife’s body was found Doctor jones said that his wife and he were on the point of splitting up. It seems that he had been married twice before. I would be very interested to speak to both of the ex-wives for sure.

Doctor Jones was arrested for a second time after “fresh evidence” came to light but after a consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service Jones was released without charge.

I am reliably informed that Doctor Jones is still alive aged around 81 years old, he lives in France. According to my informant, the doctor married and had several partners after Diane and I would be keen to speak to them.

I strongly believe that this case could still be solved but it would need a lot of work involving Europol and the CPS but it could be worthwhile.

Do you remember this case? Do you have thoughts on this? If so please get in touch I would love to hear from you.

I will be back with another case for you very soon, until then if you have a case that you would like my team and I to look into then let me know

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