15-year-old Hannah Disappeared after an evening out with friends and was tragically found brutally murdered in Horsenden Hill.
This case has left police and some private detectives baffled.
The teenager was reported missing after leaving her home in the Queens Park area of London on January 2nd 1998. She left home at around 7 pm on that evening, telling her mother that she was going to meet a friend but was never seen again.
The family lived on Harrow Road in Queens Park, between Paddington & Harlesden.
Hannah’s family and friends put up posters and made appeals for her safe return but their hopes were dashed some three weeks later on January 25th 1998 when Hannah’s body was found partially hidden on Horsenden Hill, West London, close to a golf course.
Horsenden Hill was over seven miles from Harrow Road, about 30 minutes drive, and located close to Wembley. It is worth noting that there is a bus route and an underground tube train route between the two locations.
The teen had not been robbed and there was no evidence of sexual assault, she had been stabbed 20 times in the neck and face without any apparent reason.
Interestingly, the area where the teenager's body was found was a regular haunt for gay people, known as a “cruising area”. I may be completely on the wrong track but, various articles described Hannah as having “very short hair, slicked down & distinctively parted in the middle”. Was she maybe mistaken for a young male? Did she go to Horsenden Hill of her own volition or was she taken there forcibly? Could her body have been dumped at that particular site for some specific reason connected to the activities that go on there?
Even now the area of Horsenden Hill is described as a “Gay cruising Area” and I am somewhat convinced the search for clues to the teenager’s murder should start there.
Events leading up to Hannah’s disappearance:
It seems Hannah had visited a shop on the afternoon prior to her disappearance and the shopkeeper reported that he had heard an argument outside the shop involving Hannah. I have not been able to ascertain who she may have been arguing with.
The 15-year-old then returned home and did not mention the argument to her mother. She left home again at around 7 pm telling her mother that she would be home later that night.
Details of the killing
Evidence suggests that Hannah was murdered within twelve hours of being abducted but her body was kept for several days before being dumped. I don’t think the police are clear as to where the body may have been stored but it is a little strange, particularly as she hadn't been sexually interfered with, so why keep the body?
Someone must have seen something or known what happened to this young female. It was January 2nd, just after the New Year. Hannah was dressed in orange Benetton jeans, a grey/green bomber jacket, a brown and blue striped top and Red trainers.
If the body was kept as suggested then where was it? The killer not only had to conceal a dead teenager for several days but then had to transport it to the deposition site, up a fairly long path uphill. Someone has to have seen something, is that you?
It is fair to say that the person responsible for the murder would have been absolutely covered in blood and would have had to have destroyed the clothes he or she was wearing. Did you see anyone burning stuff in the area at that time? Maybe you smelt an unusually strong smoke, maybe late at night? I urge you to cast your mind back, remember this is a 15-year-old child that we are talking about.
Remember that Hannah had been stabbed some 20 times, someone had to have been pretty angry or deranged to have carried out such an evil act, why would a person do this to a school child?
There has to have been a vehicle involved which would either have to have been deeply cleaned or destroyed. Where is that vehicle? What happened to it? Do you recall someone suddenly being without or changing their vehicle in January 1998? Did you maybe have a car stolen from Harrow Road area of \london around that time that was never recovered or found burnt out?
Almost certainly, Hannah’s killer will have been familiar with Horsenden Hill and its layout and may well have known her home area around Harrow Road, particularly if the killer was the same person who Hannah argued with outside the shop on the afternoon of January 2nd 1998.
The strange thing is that this seems to have been somewhat a random and isolated killing, with no explanation, no motive and no other killings in the area at a similar time.
There were of course other murders in London in 1998 but I am so far unable to establish any connection between them and the murder of Hannah Deterville.
Let’s remember that the body was only found after police were alerted by a gay and lesbian switchboard. Someone had phoned in anonymously to the switchboard and told the operator about the body. Strangely, bearing in mind a murder had taken place the call was never traced.
Superintendent David Niccol who was heading the enquiry known as Operation Maidstone spoke to The Independent newspaper in 1999 and told them “We just cannot find a motive at all”.
“What makes someone so livid with her to stab her so many times and continue stabbing her after death?”
Supt Niccol said the case was “extremely unusual”, adding: “The effort that has gone into trying to hide her body, the severity of the wounds & the lack of any motive whatsoever makes it very unusual.”
To date, five people have been arrested in connection with Hannah Deterville’s murder but none have been charged.
I really do believe that it would have been almost impossible for this heinous crime to have been committed and the body hidden in such a location without someone seeing something. It has even been suggested that it would have taken two people to have carried the body to the deposition site wrapped up in the way it was, so not just one person is guilty of involvement in this.
Were you the person who called the lesbian and gay switchboard to alert them of the body having been dumped? Did you know that person? Did you see anyone acting strangely around Harrow Road, Queens Park on January 2nd 1998? Do you know someone who was acting strangely or suddenly changed their behaviour considerably around that time?
If you know anything at all please get in touch with the Metropolitan Police by calling 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111
It is never too late to help get justice for a murder victim and never too late to see someone punished for a heinous crime that they may have believed they had gotten away with.
I will be back with another case in a few days' time, in the meantime, if you would like to discuss this case or indeed any aspect of my work, please get in touch.
If you appreciate my work please “buy me a coffee” by clicking the link below or leave me a tip at the bottom of this page