The mother of Billie-Jo Jenkins has called for the investigation into the schoolgirl’s murder to be reopened on the 20th anniversary of her death.
Billie-Jo was found in a pool of blood with head injuries inflicted by a metal tent peg on the patio of her foster family’s large Victorian home in Lower Park Road, Hastings, East Sussex, on February 15 1997.
Sion Jenkins, the 13-year-old’s foster father, was convicted of the murder and jailed for life, but was acquitted in 2006, following two inconclusive trials.
Billie-Jo’s birth mother Deborah Barnett told The Mirror: “It would be great if they could open the investigation again and get some fresh eyes on it.
“The police have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I can’t describe it to you, unless you have lost a child, it’s a nightmare. I want to get justice for her.”
Jenkins, who was cleared of murder after spending six years in jail, has said in the past there was a reluctance by officers to look again at the case files.
The former deputy headteacher said he believes the answer to bringing her killer to justice lies within the tens of thousands of sheets of evidence collected by police.
A Sussex Police spokesman told Huffington Post UK: “This case is unresolved, and any new information that might lead to new lines of enquiry would be assessed, and investigated wherever necessary. However there has been no new information since the end of the second trial ten years ago and there is no current work on the case. There has been no further review of the case since the second trial and we have no plans for any activity to mark the 20th anniversary.
“Although there has been no formal review, the case, like all other unresolved murders, is regularly assessed to see whether there might be new forensic or other opportunities to explore. None have yet emerged.”
Jenkins’ call for a re-examination of the case in 2012 came after Billie-Jo’s aunt, Margaret Coster, reportedly demanded that Sussex Police look at the movements of M25 rapist Antoni Imiela in connection with the case.
But Jenkins told ITV’s Daybreak: “I’m not simply pointing the finger at that individual or actually anyone.
“My concern has always been that the evidence that has been collected, tens of thousands of sheets of paper and evidence, and I believe that the key somewhere to opening the case is actually there, and I want that to actually be looked at.”
Sussex Police said they were not linking Imiela with any inquiry.
Jenkins added: “It has been a struggle with Sussex Police to get them to reopen the case and consider what should be done if that case is reopened.”
He claimed that many people had come forward with information that should be examined by the police. And he went on: “There is evidence that is available that needs to be analysed afresh with an open mind.”
Jenkins, at the time headteacher-designate at an all-boys school in Hastings, maintained his innocence and insisted Billie-Jo must have been killed by an intruder while he visited a DIY store.
In 1998 he was convicted at Lewes Crown Court of murdering her and jailed for life, but he had a retrial in 2005 after appealing successfully.
The jury failed to agree a verdict then and a second retrial ended the same way in 2006, allowing him to walk free.
He added: “I have always believed that I would get out of prison but I also believed that the struggle to find who was responsible for killing Billie would only take place after I came out of prison.”