Fresh appeal over 1986 Lover’s Lane shotgun murders after key evidence lost

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Police probing the murders of two lovers shot dead 35 years ago have launched a fresh appeal for information after crucial evidence was lost.

Peter Thurgood, 47, and Lindy Benstead, 49, were gunned down on a country clearing in West Sussex in 1986.

The murders were dubbed the Lovers' Lane killings.

Divorced bricklayer Mr Thurgood had hired a silver Mazda to drive to a golf club in Liphook, Hants, where the married mum-of-three worked as a cleaner.

They then drove to Chapel Common, in Rake near Petersfield, where their bodies were found hours later by a driver who stopped for a rest.

They had both been killed by shotgun blasts at point-blank range.

But key pieces of evidence, including the shotgun cartridges and her skirt, have gone missing, it emerged last month.

Detectives used drones on Wednesday to scour the wooded area.

They said the pair lived in the nearby villages of Whitehill and Bordon, with the fact they were having an affair widely known in the area.

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Mr Thurgood's sons, David and Terry Thurgood, along with Karen Benstead, Lindy's daughter, issued a joint statement appealing for information.

They said: "These terrible killings of our loved ones have haunted both families for 35 years now, and we remain united in our desire to support any enquiries that will help bring justice and closure for us all.

"We ask anyone who has any information they have not yet brought to the police, to come forward now. It is never too late to do the right thing."

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The two sons said “somebody must know something”, adding: "Now is the time to come forward to the police and help both our families put closure to this horrific crime."

Detective Superintendent Emma Heater of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: "This tragic case was thoroughly investigated in 1986 and subsequently, and has since been reviewed several times.”

Police believe the answer to the “mystery of these dreadful crimes” lies in the areas the victims came from, she added.

The detective continued: “While we cannot rule out the possibility of an attack by a random stranger, it is still likely that someone with information from within those areas will provide vital leads.”

Lindy's husband Mick was questioned at the time, but had a clear alibi.

No one has ever been arrested, which makes the case the longest unsolved murder to appear on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

  • Police
  • Crime

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