unsolved: the murder of melanie hall

Melanie Hall, born August 20, 1970, was a Britsh hospital clerical officer from Bradford on Avon. Hull was described by her parents as a 'young' and 'vibrant' person who achieved her biggest dream in 1995 when she graduated from the University of Bath. On June 9, 1996, Hull went missing following a night out at a nightclub in Bath.

Hall's mother dropped her off at her boyfriend's house where she had arranged to stay on the afternoon of June 8th. That night, Hall and her boyfriend along with another couple attended the Cadillacs nightclub, Bath for a few drinks. Witnesses report that Hall argued with her doctor boyfriend, who proceeded to leave the club looking upset after he allegedly saw her dancing with another man. The last sighting of Hall was at 1:10am on June 9, where she was seen sitting on the edge of a stool in the club and no one saw her leave. On June 11, her parents reported her missing after she failed to turn up for work.

Avon and Somerset police launched several searches of the River Avon in an attempt to find her, as well as interviewing thousands of clubbers and taxi drivers in an operation involving 60 officers. Shows such as Crimewatch and Crimestoppers made appeals for information regarding her disappearance as did her sister, and a £10,000 reward was offered for information that lead to a location however no trace of Hall was found. On November 17, 2004 Hall was declared legally dead after no indication of her still being alive was ever found.

On October 5, 2009, a motorway worker discovered a bin bag containing bones while he was clearing a vegetation patch on a slip road at Junction 14 on the M5 nearly 30 miles away from where Hall was last seen. The bag included a skull, pelvis and thigh bone and further bones were discovered buried and spread around the field at the side of the motorway in a total of five bin bags. Police confirmed they were human bones, and showed Mr and Mrs Hall a piece of jewellery found at the site, who confirmed it belonged to their daughter. Police refused to confirm that the bones were Melanie Hall's until the post-mortem had been carried out, and eventually confirmed the identity as Hall's through dental records on October 7, 2009. She incurred severe blunt trauma to her head during her ordeal which resulted in a fractured skull, jaw and cheekbone although her cause of death has never been confirmed. Hall had also been tied up with a thin blue rope. None of Hall's clothing or belongings (other than the one piece of jewellery) was discovered on her, or anywhere near the site. It is unknown whether or not Hall died on the morning of June 9, or if she was alive for longer.

Hall's parents launched a new appeal on October 8 for information regarding their daughters murder. On October 29, police revealed that three keys to Ford vehicle had been found near the body, and they were working with Ford to discover the make. Crimewatch also launched a fresh appeal for information which resulted in over 200 calls from the public, although none of them lead to any major developments. The reward for information regarding the murder of Hall which led to an arrest was also increased to £20,000.

 In 2003, two men were arrested in connection with the murder of Melanie Hall after information from members of the public, however, the men were released without charge after police searched buildings and a field in Bath and found no connection. In 2009, a 37-year-old man walked into a police station in Greater Manchester and confessed that he killed Hall, but was eliminated from the inquiry after going through multiple psychiatric tests. In July 2010, a 38-year-old man from Bath was arrested on suspicion of connection to Hall's murder who was subsequently released on bail and in August a 39-year-old man from Wiltshire was also arrested after handing himself in, however was also released on bail. In October 2013, police said they had discovered a white Volkswagen car connected to their investigation and had also received relevant information regarding the blue rope Hall was tied up with. On November 25, it was revealed a 44-year-old man had been arrested at his address in Bath on suspicion of murder. The man was released on bail, and a property in connection with him was searched. However, on November 28, 2014 it was revealed that there was insufficient evidence to charge the man. The latest arrest was on June 23, 2016, where a 45-year-old man was arrested following the retrieval of DNA from where Hall's bones were discovered, he was subsequently released on bail a few days later.

Police have investigated connections with the case of Suzy Lamplugh (who disappeared July 1986) and the case of an unknown serial sex offender. The assailant attempted to attack a woman at knife-point in the same area of the city a few hours before Hall disappeared. In the Spring of 2011, police investigating two other murders of women also began to look at possible links between the murders and the murder of Hall however nothing was ever confirmed. It has also been suggested that there may be connections between the murder of Hall and killer Levi Bellfield, as her injuries were caused by a blunt instrument, they were similar to his three victims and Levi is known to have owned a number of Ford cars.

Melanie Hall's case is still open, and police continue to search for clues regarding what happened after she left that club in 1996. There is still a possibility that her murderer could be identified, and as technology advances the chances increase. Police are still appealing for any information about the night of her disappearance, the days following and the location of her bones.

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