Fresh appeal after 40 years to catch woman’s 1984 murderer in Bristol

Shelley Morgan
Shelley Morgan was murdered after taking her children to school in 1984 (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)

Police have issued a fresh appeal to bring the killer of a mother-of-two to justice 40 years after she was murdered.

Shelley Morgan, 33, was last seen alive dropping her children off at school in Bristol on 11 June 1984.

Her remains were found in woodlands four months later, but the murder remains unsolved.

“Forty years may have passed but our resolve has not lessened,” Det Insp Dave Marchant said.

A black and white photograph showing a secluded wooded area

Ms Morgan’s remains were found in woodland off Long Lane in October 1984 (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)


“We will never give up trying to identify the person responsible for Shelley’s murder and for leaving her two young children without their mother.”

Detectives said Ms Morgan, originally from the US, had planned to spend the day sketching and taking photographs at Leigh Woods near Ashton Court in Bristol, on the day she was last seen.

When she failed to pick her children up or return home to Dunkerry Road in Bedminster, the police were called.

Ms Morgan’s remains were found by children playing in woodland off Long Lane in Backwell Hill on 14 October.

Police said she had suffered multiple stab wounds and there was evidence the “brutal” attack was sexually motivated.

A street view with a sign that says Dunkerry Road

Shelley Morgan lived on Dunkerry Road, Bedminster, with her husband and two children


Despite the passage of time, Det Insp Marchant said Avon and Somerset Police was determined to solve her murder.

“We remain committed to providing her family with answers and, if her killer is still alive, to bringing them to justice.

“We know after dropping her children off at school on 11 June 1984, Shelley headed towards Leigh Woods where she planned to take photographs and sketch.

“While we can’t categorically say for certain she made it to Leigh Woods, we’ve unconfirmed sightings of her on a bus traveling towards the area and near Ashton Court.

“We know Shelley was wearing a scarlet-coloured top, a white skirt and maroon-coloured tights along with large red circular glasses.

“And we know she had with her a homemade patchwork bag and her 35mm Olympus OM20 camera.

“Neither her clothing or her camera have ever been recovered but we remain hopeful someone may yet come across the camera as it’s still popular with collectors.

“If you own an Olympus OM20 camera from the 1980s with the serial number 1032853 please get in touch.”

An Olympus OM20 camera

Police want to find Ms Morgan’s Olympus OM20 camera, similar to the one pictured, with the serial number 1032853 (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)


Five years ago, Mrs Morgan’s sister Hollie Brian said: “Shelley’s death had a profound effect on our family and her loss has been felt ever since.

“I’ve come to believe that people aren’t really dead until the people who love and remember them have passed also.

“As long as we carry Shelley in our hearts she’ll always be with us, but we’re all getting older and the time is going to come when all those doors are closed.

“We beseech you, if you know anything about what happened that day back in June of 1984 please come to the police.

“Maybe you were afraid to speak out at the time? Maybe your situation has changed?

“Out of love and respect for my sister we really want to know what happened and be sure the person who killed her will never hurt anybody ever again.”

A photograph showing St Andrew's Church in Backwell, which is surrounded by treesIMAGE

Detectives previously released a postcard of St Andrew’s Church from the direction of Backwell Hill which they believe could hold clues to the murder (Image: Police Handout)


Det Insp Marchant said: “Five years ago we released images of two postcards which depicted the River Avon in Bristol and St Andrew’s Church, from the direction of Backwell Hill.

“Several members of the public contacted us in response to that appeal and officers were subsequently able to rule out any significance of the postcards to the investigation.

“We believe the locations Shelley was visiting that day hold the key to her killer’s identity.

“It’s highly likely her killer was familiar with the Leigh Woods and Backwell areas and could have had links through work or other associations.

“If you have any information, no matter how small or irrelevant you think it might be, please come forward.

“You could have the missing piece which helps complete this case.”


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