A “credible” new suspect has emerged in the Joanna Parrish murder case, forcing judges in Paris to reopen the investigation, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The suspect, said to have a “serious criminal record”, is reported to already be in prison for murder.

In 1990, the naked body of Parrish was discovered by fishermen in the Yonne River, Auxerre. She was abducted after placing an advertisement for English lessons in a regional newspaper. The post-mortem showed that she had been raped before being strangled.

The parents of the murdered girl, who accused French police of bungling the investigation, believe that their daughter was killed by Michel Fourniret, a forest ranger who was convicted of several rapes and murders in 2008.

However, Fourniret has always denied the killing of Parrish.

The case was officially closed by French judges in 2010. Fourniret was not convicted of the murder, despite the protestations of the victims’ parents.

However, the case was dramatically reopened on Tuesday following a new line of enquiry. According to Didier Seban, the Parrish family lawyer, fresh DNA evidence has come to light.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Seban said: "I cannot give any more details about the person concerned as he has not yet been quizzed by police, but it concerns someone already linked to this type of crime who I believe is currently in prison."

"The Parrish family had the impression of being very badly treated by the French justice system. Their battle for the truth shows one must never abandon the chance to try and resolve a case even after so many years," he added.