The mother of a teenage murder victim has died not knowing who killed her daughter 32 years ago.
Christine Hession lost a short battle with cancer at the age of 69.
Friends say it is tragic that she did not live long enough to see 14-year-old Lisa Hession’s killer brought to justice.
The Bedford High School pupil was found sexually assaulted and strangled in an alleyway only a few dozen yards from her home in Bonneywell Road, Leigh.
The death triggered a huge manhunt, made national headlines and has subsequently been the focus of numerous re-appeals and investigations, not least because of advances in DNA technology to which precious samples taken from the scene behind Rugby Road could still be subjected.
But since the tragic night of December 8 1984, not a single arrest has been made nor even a description given of the suspect.
This is so terribly sad. Christine has gone to her grave not having that burning, tragic question answeredA friend of Mrs Hession
It is one of only a handful of unsolved fatal crimes in the borough since the 1970s and the only one involving a child.
Police have not issued a formal statement about Mrs Hession’s death but have been quoted several times in the past that their efforts to crack the case will continue until justice is finally served.
A friend of Mrs Hession, who did not want to be identified, said: “This is so terribly sad. Christine has gone to her grave not having that burning, tragic question answered.
“It was terrible enough to lose your daughter in such violent circumstances but for the killer then to go uncaught and unpunished for the rest of your life makes the tragedy all the more agonising.
“For someone to come forward now and finally identify the killer would at least give some belated closure for surviving family and something of a legacy for Christine.
“At present we can only think of Christine finally reunited with her beloved daughter.”
The last major appeal for witnesses and other information came in December 2014 on what was the 30th anniversary of Lisa’s death.
And police have still not ruled out a link between the case and three sex attacks on young women in the south Leigh area in the weeks before the youngster died. They suddenly stopped after the tragedy.
On that anniversary Christine gave her blessing for the new police and press campaign although she declined to comment further on the case.
However, in a previous interview with the local media, she held strong beliefs on where a revelation about the culprit’s identity may come from and spoke of her enduring pain.
She said: “I think it’s someone who lives in this town and I think someone knows who it is and is shielding them. I don’t know how they could do that.
“I had to go there and identify her. I felt shocked - just devastated. You don’t think this sort of thing is ever going to happen to you.
“I still think about Lisa every day. I don’t cry as much anymore and the pain isn’t quite so bad.
“I still miss her though. I’ll never forget her. Other people forget, but a mother never does.”
Lisa had been to a party on the other side of Leigh town centre on that fateful Saturday evening and had been told to be home for 10.30pm.
She set off alone on foot in good time, walked safely through the town centre and onto St Helens Road and was seen turning into Buck Street, very close to where she lived.
But she never got home, her body being found about 90 minutes later by a dog walker.
Her worried mum had already been out looking for her and was soon to be ringing the police to raise the alarm.
Speaking at the time of the anniversary Martin Bottomley, head of Greater Manchester Police’s cold case unit, said: “Until the perpetrator of this awful crime is brought to justice the file on Lisa Hession will never be closed.
“It is a particularly sad case. A schoolgirl went for night out shortly before Christmas and never came home.