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  1. ITV Report

Karen Hales murder: 20 years of hurt

Karen Hales was brutally murdered 20 years ago. Photo: Suffolk Police

20 years ago today, young Ipswich mother Karen Hales was stabbed to death and then set alight in the kitchen of her home.

Her 18-month-old daughter was in the room as it happened.

Two decades have since passed, and despite numerous appeals, her killer has never been caught.

November 1993 - Karen Hales brutally murdered

Police discovered the body of Karen Hales at her home address in Lavenham Road, Ipswich. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Police discovered the body of Karen Hales at her home address in Lavenham Road, Ipswich, on the afternoon of Sunday 21 November.

She had received multiple stab wounds and her body had been set alight.

Karen's 18-month-old daughter Emily was in the house at the time, and witnessed the attack, but fortunately was unharmed.

Suffolk Police immediately launched a murder inquiry, at the time one of the biggest murder hunts in Suffolk’s criminal history.

November 1995 - Police make fresh appeal for information

Despite following up 1,300 lines of inquiry and taking 660 statements, the murder remained unsolved. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Despite following up 1,300 lines of inquiry and taking 660 statements, the murder remained unsolved.

Police launched a fresh appeal for information on the second anniversary of Karen's killing in the hope of tracking down her killer.

No murder weapon had yet been found, with police still looking for two kitchen knives that disappeared from the house on the day of the killing, knives that still haven't been located to this very day.

Much of the investigation centred around a man seen running away from the property, allegedly covered in blood.

November 2005 - Local businesses put up £50,000 reward

For Karen's parents, Graham and Geraldine, the pain still went on. Credit: ITV News Anglia

An Ipswich business consortium, led by the Ipswich Evening Star newspaper, offered a reward of £50,000 for information.

Karen's parents, Graham and Geraldine, attended the press conference and said at the time that the pain hadn't faded, despite it now being 12 years since their daughter's death:

"It's as hard today as it was then.

"It never goes away. Every night I lay in bed and I miss Karen."

– Graham Hales, Karen's father speaking in 2005

Despite the generous reward on offer from the consortium, no vital new information came to light, and the hurting went on.

November 2013 - Suffolk Police launch appeal on 20th annivesary of Karen's death

Now 20 years on since her murder, Suffolk Police are still refusing to give up on finding Karen's killer and are urging anyone with information to come forward.

Anyone who has any information in relation to Karen Hales murder should contact the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk major Investigation Team on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.