Police investigating murder of Exeter school girl decades ago pursue 40 new leads

Kate Bushell's body was found in a field. Credit: Family handout/Devon and Cornwall Police

Police investigating the murder of Exeter schoolgirl Kate Bushell are continuing to appeal for information 25 years after her death.

The 14-year-old was killed on Saturday 15 November 1997 as she walked a neighbour’s dog near her home.

She was discovered with a knife wound to her throat in a field off Exwick Lane.

On the 25th anniversary of her death, detectives renewed their appeal for any information that might help track down her killer.

They said they're now pursuing around 40 new lines of enquiry as a result of the appeal.

Kate's body was found just off Exwick Lane Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Police officers believe someone local may know who was responsible for the teenager's murder.

"This is a 14-year-old girl that had her whole life ahead of her", Detective Superintendent Mike West said.

"She should be in her late 30s now, with achievements because she was a bright girl and that life to have been robbed from her and her family must be heartbreaking."

Senior Investigating Officer Rob Back said: “The response and the interest from the public has been really good so far, with a number of fresh intelligence reports being reviewed by the crime team. However, we are still appealing for that crucial piece of new information.

“We continue to receive a meaningful public response to appeals about Kate’s callous murder, regardless of how much time has passed, and we are thankful to those who have found the courage to come forward on this anniversary.

“We would urge people to keep the information coming as we desperately want to solve this murder. If you think you may know something which could lead to the identification of Kate’s killer, please contact us. That one piece of critical information may be just what we need.”

A £20,000 reward has been offered by the charity Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Kate’s killer.

Tim Bushell (left) with his sister Kate, who was murdered 25 years ago Credit: Family handout/Devon and Cornwall Police

Speaking at the time of the 25th anniversary of Kate's murder, her brother Tim Bushell said “There isn’t a day that goes past where my family and I don’t think of her, what life would be like if she hadn’t been taken from us, what she would have achieved, and all the family milestones that we have been unable to include her in.

“Over the past 25 years, thousands of enquiries have been undertaken by the police. They have information that needs clarification, but we are still waiting for the key breakthrough.

“I would implore anyone who has been unable to do so previously to share any information with the police so that with your help they can apprehend the person responsible and achieve justice for Kate.”