THE daughter of a woman murdered in cold blood more than 30 years ago has vowed not to give up in the desperate hunt to find her mother’s killer.
Lauren was just nine when mother Penny Bell was found slumped over the steering wheel of her powder-blue Jaguar in the car park of the Gurnell Leisure Centre in Perivale, West London.
Lauren Bell has vowed to continue the search for her mother’s killerCredit: The Sun
Penny Bell was viciously stabbed 50 times in the chest and arms in June 1991Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The businesswoman, who owned a recruitment agency supplying catering staff for high-profile events, had been viciously stabbed 50 times in the chest and arms.
A post mortem and police probe showed the killer attacked her from the passenger seat then went on to stab her through the driver’s window.
That day — June 6, 1991 — Lauren and her brother Matthew, then 11, waited in vain for their mum at the school gates.
But later at home, police arrived to tell the family what had happened — and that Penny was never coming back.
Ever since, daughter Lauren has turned detective, spending every waking minute attempting to solve the decades long mystery that is still considered one of Britain’s most infamous cold cases.
Despite a £1.5million investigation, more than 8,000 interviews and a £20,000 reward, the identity of the killer and their motive remains unsolved.
But following the 30th anniversary of the incident last year, Lauren has now teamed up with top cop Brian Edwards, the officer who led the initial police investigation at the time, in a fresh bid to crack the case.
She believes that this is the final throw of the dice — and if the latest investigation cannot yield new information, she may never find out who killed her mother.
Lauren, now 40, told The Mirror: “I believe my mum’s killer is still alive and walking free. I won’t rest until I know who murdered her.
“I was just nine when Mum was taken from us, so I’m coming from a very different perspective today. As soon as I approached Brian, he didn’t hesitate and agreed to work with me on Mum’s case.
“His memory of the murder is exceptional, and his experience of the case is invaluable. Like me, he’s never been able to let the case go and has thought about it constantly over the years.
“I’ve been trying to piece lots of things together over the years from family, friends and associates.”
At the time, 31 years ago, Penny’s savage killing captured the attention of the press and public alike.
At the heart of intense media speculation, detective Brian was tasked with solving the case that rocked the nation.
I will not give up,
And all these years later, admitting his desire to conclude unfinished business, the retired detective chief superintendent said he is willing to jump back on-board.
He said: “This case has always troubled me and when Lauren got in touch, I didn’t have to think twice about getting involved again.
“I retired in 1999 but this case has always bugged me. I remember seeing Lauren as a little girl when her mum was murdered. It’s extraordinary to now be working with her to try and solve the case.
“Lauren has gleaned lots of background information over the years that would have been impossible for us as a detective team to know at the time.
“It’s shone fresh light on a case that has stumped everyone for over three decades.”
At the time of her death Penny left behind her husband Alistair as well as her two children as police drew up their initial list of suspects.
But Lauren, who now has a child of her own, says she is desperate for any new information — no matter how small — which might help the police review team in their investigations to identify a suspect.
Scotland Yard’s cold case team insist they have regularly launched fresh inquiries into the killing having vowed that “no operation is ever closed.”
But after forensics review was ordered last year, no new evidence of significant note resulted.
Since taking matters into her own hands, Lauren said: “Brian and I are looking at every detail of Mum’s life to establish new evidence. I believe we will uncover who killed Mum and trust we’ll receive support from the police to bring her killers to justice.
“Anything we uncover will be passed to the police. It feels like the answer is there right in front us – like her killer is hiding in plain sight. That’s why neither Brian nor I will give up this time.”
Brian added: “It’s impossible to let this one go.
“Lauren and I are committed to doing everything possible to uncover the truth of how her mother was murdered.
“It’s the very least that Penny deserves.”
Lauren has teamed up with a top ex-cop as police investigations continue to falterCredit: The Sun
Met Police e-fit of the killer, who managed to escape in broad daylightCredit: Metropolitan Police
Lauren with dad Alistair and brother Matthew at Penny’s funeral in 1991Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd