Una Crown: Fresh appeal over murder of Wisbech pensioner stabbed and set on fire in her own home

Una Crown and her husband Jack Roland Crown.
Credit: Cambs Police
Una Crown with husband Jack Roland Crown. Credit: Family photo/Cambridgeshire Police.

A fresh appeal has been made by police looking to solve the 11-year mystery of a pensioner who was stabbed to death and set on fire in her own home.

The body of 86-year-old Una Crown was found by family members and a neighbour in Wisbech in Cambridgeshire on 13 January, 2013.

She had been seen alive two days beforehand and had spoken to a friend on the phone at about 5pm the day before her body was discovered by police.

Her death was initially treated as unexplained, as police thought she had set herself alight while using her cooker - but when a post-mortem examination days later revealed that she had been stabbed in the neck and chest, a murder investigation was launched.

Her clothing was then set alight, in an attempt to disguise the injuries and destroy evidence, but the fire did not spread to the rest of the house in Magazine Lane.

The house in Magazine Lane, Wisbech, where Una Crown was found dead. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Det Supt Iain Moor, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, said: “It has now been 11 years since Mrs Crown’s tragic death and we still seek justice for her family.

“Last year we appealed for help on national television with a reconstruction of events. It is incredibly positive we were able to reach such a large audience, but we continue to seek opportunities for new lines of inquiry.

"We also continue to re-appeal to the public for information and keep the case in people’s minds.

“I am urging anyone who has information but not yet come forward, to do the right thing and get in touch. Any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, may be key to solving this investigation and finally getting justice.”

The murder of Una Crown - a timeline

12 January 2013: 86-year-old Una Crown from Wisbech calls a friend at around 5pm - her last known contact. She was last seen the day before.

13 January 2013: Mrs Crown's body is discovered by a family member at her home. Police originally treat the death as not suspicious.

Officers who attend the scene suspect she accidentally set herself alight while using her cooker and that gashes to her neck had been caused by a scarf she had been wearing as she fell.

15 January 2013: A post-mortem takes place. It finds that Mrs Crown had been repeatedly stabbed in the neck and chest and her clothes set alight. This leads to the opening of a murder investigation.

18 January 2013: A knife is found by a member of the public close to her house on Magazine Lane.

31 January 2013: A man is arrested on suspicion of murder. He is later released without further action.

April 2013: The murder features on BBC's Crimewatch as part of another appeal. A £10,000 reward is offered by the charity Crimestoppers.

October 2014: Two men are arrested in connection with the murder. They are both released without further action.

November 2014: A 44-year-old man is released on bail, after being arrested on suspicion of murdering Mrs Crown. He becomes the fourth man arrested since the murder.

March 2015: A coroner's inquest delivers a strong criticism Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The coroner says that key forensic evidence was lost in the immediate investigation and foul play was "too readily dismissed". A pathologist on the scene said her death "was suspicious for a whole different range of reasons". The police apologise for the "failings" at the start of their investigation.

January 2023: A decade on, Cambridgeshire Constabulary release another appeal - attempting to track down her killer.

March 2023: The Crimestoppers reward is doubled to £20,000. This is following another Crimewatch appeal.

January 2024: 11 years on from the murder, the police appeal for information once more.

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