Schoolgirl murder: Mother’s plea for justice 30 years on

Lisa Hession
Lisa Hession

A NEW plea for justice was made today on the 30th anniversary of Wigan borough’s most notorious unsolved murder.

On the evening of December 8 1984 the body of 14-year-old schoolgirl Lisa Hession was found in an alleyway only a few dozen yards from her home in Boneywell Road, Leigh.

The Bedford High School pupil had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

The horrific death triggered a huge manhunt, hit national headlines and has been subjected to numerous re-appeals and investigations, not least because of advances in DNA technology to which precious samples taken from the scene behind Rugby Road can still be subjected.

But in the three decades since that tragic night, not a single arrest has been made nor even a description given of a prime suspect.

It is one of only a handful of unsolved fatal crimes in the borough since the 1970s and the only one involving a child.

Cold case detectives today launched a new appeal for help, saying that they would never give up their quest for justice for both Lisa and her mum Christine, now 67.

And they are not ruling 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.

Christine has given 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 Wigan Evening Post, 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.

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. And 30 years later Christine still does not have the answers she craves about what happened to her little girl.

“On this the 30th anniversary of the murder we would very much welcome anyone who has information that can shed new light on the case. We would be more than happy to receive new leads and process them with the ultimate goal of bringing a killer to justice and giving Lisa’s family peace of mind at last.

“There may be people out there who, for a variety of reasons, were reluctant to come forward at the time. Now, 30 years on they might be disposed to do so. Allegiances change, people who have a hold on others die or move away or consciences finally get the better of witnesses.

“I would implore anyone with details to contact us. It is never too late to do the right thing.”

Ring the cold case unit on 0161 856 5961 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Alternatively visit the front desk of any local police station.