Statement of Jean Road:
My name is Jean Road and I am the mother of Melanie Road.
On the 9th June 1984 at 9.15am our world fell apart. As we heard and saw a police car by the window, the officer was calling out Melanie’s name. I ran out of the house, caught up with the car frantically banging on the boot ‘stop, please stop’. The police officer escorted me back to the house and that’s when all hell let lose as our lives were taken over by the tragedy and horror when hearing of our daughter’s death.
As we waded through the questions, identification and all that proceeds after a death as Melanie’s. The impact it had on our individual lives was and still is devastating.
We forgot to eat, sleep was interrupted with constant nightmares. We lost weight.
I wondered aimlessly through the streets of Bath hoping to see a glimpse of Melanie. Searching the places we had visited together.
Where Melanie’s blood was spilled, I prayed that it would not rain to wash it away, and when it did I cursed the rain for finally taking it away. I felt even the weather was against Melanie and the family.
We sat for hours traumatised by the horror of knowing Melanie was gone forever. To never see her beautiful smile and girlish laughter hurts beyond repair.
We were not functioning properly.
We constantly had no energy. My husband refused to talk to me about Melanie. I never knew if he discussed his feelings with anyone else in the family or at work.
Therefore it was inevitable that we drifted apart.
But we kept an artificial pretence to outsiders. Little did they know how we were suffering?
Our son Adrian (Melanie’s brother) was at the Nautical College in Glasgow. Our daughter Karen was in Solihull with her husband and two young children. They were notified by the police. When I spoke to Adrian he said, ‘I can’t cope I’m coming home’. This meant that he missed taking his final exams. We felt his future was now ruined.
Karen arrived in Bath with her baby who was 7 weeks old.She was breastfeeding her child but the shock upon hearing of Melanie’s death caused her milk to dry up. Luckily at 11.30pm the female PC and RUH came to Karen’s rescue and provided formula and supply of feeding bottles until Karen could rest.
The huge impact of the horror of Melanie’s death permeated throughout the family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles, all relations including school friends. Who knows what harm it has done to them?
My husband returned to work, not sure if he was functioning properly there because he certainly was not functioning when at home. It was suggested I go back to work teaching, but I could not have borne the responsibilities of other people’s children after what had happened to Melanie.
We put on a face for the outside world. Once asleep I hoped I would never wake up so that I could be with Melanie and comfort her.
I couldn’t and wouldn’t speak to the few people I had got to know in Bath, (we had only been here 2 years) because for fear that they would tell me how to cope! I mistrusted everyone! I wanted to gather my other children and family together and disappear forever!!
Yes people were kind in sending letters, cards and flowers for which I was thankful but I wanted Melanie not these gifts, but that was not going to happen.
The thought of what our lovely daughter had to endure on that fateful night still sucks the energy from within me.
The horror of the way our daughter died hangs over us like a heavy lead weight which never moves away.
Some days I think I have moved on with my life but energy forsakes me and the weight presses further and further down.
Sadly Melanie’s father my husband, now lives in a haze of Dementia hastened by our daughter’s death.
When will this pain stop? The horror of that sunny day in June will never leave us!
Our patience has been tested but we have survived these 31 ½ years not without heartache and sorrow, whilst we have waited for justice to take it’s course to hopefully allow Melanie to R.I.P.
I was 49 years old in 1984 when all this happened.
Now in my 81st year I pray that the family will find some peace. Over the past 30 years we have gradually been torn apart by this evil deed.
Nothing will bring Melanie back, but I pray that the rest of the family can again be reunited.
Statement of Adrian Road (Melanie's brother):
My name is Adrian Road and I am the brother of Melanie Road.
I have spent the last 32 years worrying about every man that ever walked down the street, asking myself, “did you kill our little sister Melanie?”.
Every man that sat near to me in a restaurant, “did you kill our little sister Melanie?” Every man that I have ever met, “could you have killed our little sister Melanie?”.
Even my friends, “did they kill our little sister Melanie?” But now I know, thankfully, none of them killed Melanie.
You did, you killed Melanie, you raped her, you mutilated her, and you chose to abandon her, you abandoned her when she was dying, our little sister Melanie.
You took away a very special person who was so close to me you wouldn’t be able to understand or comprehend what she meant to me.
She was a lovely girl and I loved her. You couldn’t possibly understand how it feels to love another human.
You couldn’t possibly understand how it feels to show compassion to another person as you chose to murder a defenceless child. A child, only 17. You have no compassion, you have no right, you killed a child.
A child who posed no threat to you, a child who was more interested in whether she would get three A levels which would enable her the choice of University, you have no right. 32 years I have patiently waited for the telephone call to say “Adrian, we have him”.
32 years I have listened to dozens of Police Officers assure me “Adrian we will find him”. They were right, they did find you and when they told me, I cried, uncontrollably, I cried. My six year old daughter asked me “Daddy, why are you crying?” I had to tell her, “the man who killed aunty Melanie, my little sister a long time ago, has now been caught, so we are all safe”.
She didn’t quite understand, but her innocent face looked up at me and started to think it over and even at her young age her moral compass points in the right direction. Her words to me were “That is so sad, he needs to be punished”.
Statement of Karen Road (Melanie's sister):
My name is Karen Road and I am the sister of Melanie Road.
You would think nothing could be worse than being told your little sister had been sexually assaulted and murdered in the most brutal way. But it can get worse – no one was charged for my sister Melanie’s murder for 31 years.
People often tell me what a beautiful or safe place Bath is. When they tell me this, I just keep quiet. I think about my sister Melanie. I’d always longed for a baby sister, and when she was born in 1966, I thought all my prayers had been answered. She was pretty, sweet and clever. We used to call her a ‘little duckling’ – with her NHS glasses, with a patch over one eye. I knew she was going to turn into a beautiful swan one day, and she did.
The last time I saw Melanie was at 5pm outside the Francis Hotel in Queen’s Square, Bath. I remember it perfectly – she leant over and kissed me on the cheek to say goodbye. We’d spent that week together. She was only 17 – beautiful, popular, and bright. She was going off to play tennis with her friends. She was about to do her A Levels, and she was looking forward to going out with friends that evening. She had her whole life ahead of her, the whole world was opening up for her.
Later that night, Melanie was brutally murdered as she walked home. On June 9th, 32 years ago, I learned the horrific truth – that Melanie had been murdered. For me, and my family, nothing has ever felt safe again. I don’t believe in ‘safe’ any more. I’ve replayed that last kiss, that last evening, countless times in my mind: ‘If I had stayed with her, if had only gone with her that night ... if only I could have saved her’. It’s a particular kind of torture that accompanies murder that settles in the mind.
You would think nothing could be worse than being told your little sister had been sexually assaulted and murdered in the most brutal way. But it did get worse – no one was brought to justice for her murder. At the time, we were told that Melanie had been stabbed 26 times, that she had suffered some kind of sexual assault, that she had been attacked, and left – as it turned out – heartbreakingly close to her home. In the absence of any more information, my imagination filled in the gaps.
I’ve had 32 years to fill in the gaps. Melanie has died hundreds of times, in hundreds of different ways in my mind – while I’m awake, while I’m asleep. I could tell you that it’s like being in a nightmare, but you wake from a nightmare, and life returns to normal. This is a nightmare I can’t ever wake up from.
I haven’t wanted my whole life to be defined by murder. But it has been. Melanie’s death has consumed my life, and it’s been frightening. For 32 years I’ve felt as if I’m living in a horror film – one where the perpetrator has not been caught. Not knowing who is responsible for Melanie’s death has been torture. I can’t explain the impact of not knowing who the murderer is, where he is. Is he nearby? Is it someone we know?
Does he know who we are? Of wondering who’s next? My body and mind have been on red alert since 9th June 1984. It’s exhausting. It’s affected every aspect of my life – physically, emotionally, financially, relationships, work, my family, my girls, this nightmare has been their life – there’s not a single thing that has not suffered as a consequence of Melanie’s death, and my suffering has been magnified by the horrific nature of her death.
Grief is a lonely place. Grief caused by murder is lonelier. Having a sister is a special bond. Losing the sister I had longed for – and in such a violent, callous way – has left me traumatised.
For years I was unable to retrieve any happy memories of Melanie, and was constantly reliving her death. Her death has been all-encompassing, and has defined her life as well as mine. I want to be able to remember her life, rather than the focus being forever on her horrific last hours. Melanie has disappeared. Since her death she’s been a statistic, a crime to be solved, a court case. But she’s my sister. She’s a person, she deserves to be remembered for herself – caring, kind, sensible, and intelligent; she was applying for university. She had dreams and wishes – about being married, having children – we’d talked about that during our last week together.
She was due to go to the Greek Islands on holiday. She was excited about life, about going travelling, about her little nieces – that last morning she’d bathed and dressed her youngest niece, a baby of just 6 weeks at the time. And that’s the point at which her life, her future, was brutally taken away. If you want to know what it’s like to lose a sister in this way, it’s impossible to tell you. There’s not a cell in my body unaffected. Not a single day passes without me thinking about her. For me, after Melanie’s death, everything has been frozen in time, or buried.
Since 9th June 1984, I’ve hoped, desperately, for her killer to be brought to justice. For 31 years no one was charged for Melanie’s murder. It’s called a ‘cold case’. To me it has never been cold – it occupies all my thoughts, and the police have continued to investigate leads, and to re-examine evidence using new technologies. The impact on me of Melanie’s murder not being solved is huge. I have wanted to do anything I can to help find and identify the person who killed my sister. But this inevitably has come at a cost – the physical and emotional effort of trying to maintain a normal life, while waiting for my sister’s killer to be found is immeasurable.
I have always wanted to see the good in people. I was brought up to believe people have a conscience, that they own up to the things they do wrong. It has been unimaginable to me that someone could wilfully cause such horrific suffering to another human being – to my sister.
There is no ‘getting over’ such a loss, such a death. I’ve longed for someone to be caught, but even the news of someone being charged has been very difficult – I’ve been catapulted emotionally back in time to Day 1 of Melanie’s death and I am reliving it all again. I’m glad I didn’t know at the time of Melanie’s death it would take 31 years for someone to be charged. It’s hard to believe that, for 32 years, this evil person has not owned up to his horrific crime, has been willing to let us go on suffering the consequences of his terrible actions.
All I have ever wanted is Justice for Melanie. My wish is that Hampton spends the rest of his life in prison and that I will be able to remember my happy memories of Melanie, and for her memory not to be defined by her horrific last hour.