Saturday 18th May 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Another Letter to the Chief

Another Letter to the Chief



Further to my article A Letter from the Chief in which I commented on the inability of Chief Constable Winward to understand and embrace new media, as a way of improving the media exposure of North Yorkshire Police and the effectiveness of the service it provides to the people of North Yorkshire:

A classic example is the NYE investigation into the murder of a woman I have designated as “Hope” in 1979, which is known as the “Nude in the Nettles” case and which has never been resolved. The NYE has run a series of articles and appeals on this case and as a result, new witnesses have come forward. Yet North Yorkshire Police will not follow up on it.

I have now been forced to declare the woman identified by local man Mr Norman Murphy as the victim of this crime as a missing person, to try and force the Chief Constable to take action.

Correspondence below:

From: Timothy Hicks
Sent: 28 July 2019 13:16
To: Office of the Chief Constable (
Cc: Information NYPCC (; nypcp (; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘‘; ‘
Subject: “Nude in the Nettles” murder

Chief Constable Lisa Winward

North Yorkshire Police,

Police Headquarters,

Alverton Court,

Crosby Road,

North Allerton,

North Yorkshire DL6 1BF 

Dear Chief Constable Winward,

“Nude in the Nettles” murder. Missing person report

Further to my e mails of the 30th, 26th and 11th of May 2019, which you have ignored, I am writing again concerning the “Nude in the Nettles” murder.  

Your force has confirmed that it reviews my articles on crime published in the North Yorks Enquirer, so you will be aware that as a result of an appeal I ran featuring the full description of the deceased known as “Hope” or the “Nude in the Nettles” murder. Mr Norman Murphy has come forward with a credible identification of the victim as a woman who frequented Victoria Road in Scarborough. Further information in the article below:

In addition to producing an identification of the victim, I believe it will be possible to provide your force with information of the current prime suspect known as “The mystery caller” and identify that the “Yorkshire Ripper” Peter Sutcliffe should be designated as a prime suspect in this offence and interviewed under caution over this offence.  

Obviously it is deeply disappointing that you have chosen to ignore my correspondence and your force has not followed up on this information. I believe this is because of your personal disdain for new media and because I have criticised the conduct of the North Yorkshire Police investigation into this crime. Further information in the articles below.

 Therefore in order to force North Yorkshire Police to take action, please can I ask that you: 

    1. Record the lady identified by Mr Murphy in my article above and who suddenly disappeared from Scarborough in about 1979, as a missing person.
    1. Request a review of the murder investigation known as the “Nude in the Nettles” by another force, preferably the Metropolitan Police.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course. 

Yours sincerely, 

Timothy Hicks,

Freelance journalist

Mr Norman Murphy of Victoria Road Scarborough

Came forward to provide vital information in the “Hope” murder investigation.

The Betrayal of “Hope”

Before taking the step of declaring the alleged victim as a missing person, I contacted the Home Secretary Mr Sajid Javid MP, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services Inspector for North Yorkshire Mr Phil Gormley QPM and all eight of the North Yorkshire Members of Parliament, asking them to take up the case. The response was deeply unsatisfactory and disappointing:

  • Four MPs, (Mr Nigel Adams, Mr Kevin Hollinrake, Mr Rishi Sunak and Mr Julian Sturdy) the Home Secretary Mr Sajid Javid MP and HM Inspector of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services Mr Phil Gormley QPM did not even bother responding.
  • Three MP’s (Mr Andrew Jones, Ms Rachael Maskell and the Right Honourable Julian Smith MP) refused to take up the case of “Hope” because I was not from their constituency, which conveniently ignores the fact that “Hope” was probably from North Yorkshire and it is a North Yorkshire
  • According to Mr Murphy’s evidence, “Hope” was probably resident in Scarborough and so her constituency MP is probably Mr Robert Goodwill. He responded to my enquiry about his constituent with:

“Thank you very much indeed for your e-mail of 7th July regarding the unsolved murder enquiry dating back to 1981. 

You say that North Yorkshire Police do not engage with new media. I hope that is not the case but I can quite understand them not wishing to engage with the North Yorkshire Enquiry, whose standard of journalistic probity and veracity often falls far short of what one would expect from a responsible media outlet. 

Thank you for getting in touch.”

MP for Scarborough & Whitby Robert Goodwill MP

Refusing to try and obtain justice for his murdered constituent.

Obviously I responded to Mr Goodwill:

“Your concerns about the probity and veracity of the NYE are not particularised, so I would ask that if you have any specific instances you would like to confirm, I will try to ensure that they are addressed by the NYE Editor. I trust this is helpful.

Returning to the case of “Hope”, I would respectfully point out that you have not addressed the subject of my e mail to you. The fact remains that an important new witness has come forward to the NYE with fresh evidence which could progress or resolve the case and North Yorkshire Police are refusing to respond to it. This and the attached letter from Chief Constable Winward confirm that under this Chief Constable, North Yorkshire Police will not engage with new media. Hence the reason it is ignoring the evidence the NYE has uncovered. 

Therefore please can I repeat my request that you write to the Home Secretary and ask for a review of the case by another force, preferably the Metropolitan Police.

I thank you in anticipation of your consideration in this request, which is made on behalf of a deceased person with no known relative to look after her interests.” 

Needless to say, I received no response from him.

All of these people are paid an awful lot of money to address issues of police failings and are provided with a staff to assist them in this, yet all of them have stone-walled me perfectly.

The performance of two constituency MPs compared

As narrated above, even Mr Robert Goodwill MP, would not take up “Hope’s” case, even though she is probably his constituent and there is no one else to safeguard her interests.

Contrast this to the response of Martin Docherty Hughes MP (SNP), MP for West Dunbartonshire. He has done everything he can to obtain justice for his constituent Caroline Glachan who was murdered in 1996. He has worked well with new media and has thanked the NYE for its efforts to generate publicity and keep the case in the public eye.

Mr Martin Docherty Hughes MP

Dedicated constituency MP still trying to get justice for a murdered constituent.

I have no doubt if there was a constituency MP of Mr Docherty-Hughes calibre in North Yorkshire, this case would have been re-opened in an attempt to obtain justice for a woman from North Yorkshire.

NYE Appeal for information


Three-dimensional wax reconstruction of the victims head and face

  • She was 5’ 2” in height, aged between thirty-five and forty.
  • She had a slender build and wore her natural dark brown hair in a page-boy style.
  • She had given birth to two or three children and had a displaced septum between her nostrils.
  • Her toenails were painted pink – the varnish coming from the Max Factor Maxi range.
  • She would have worn a size four shoe.
  • Staining on her teeth revealed that she was a heavy smoker that did not look after herself.
  • She had a Yorkshire or Lancashire accent, but may not be originally from Scarborough.
  • All her upper teeth were missing, she had an upper dental plate fitted, and she had only six lower teeth.
  • She had an old fracture to her right ankle and an abnormality to her neck vertebrae which would have caused backache.
  • Do you remember someone like this from the shelter in Victoria Street?
  • Were you one of “Hope’s” clients?
  • Were you a police officer in Scarborough in the period 1977 – 1979? Did “Hope” come into custody for being drunk and disorderly, soliciting or vagrancy, or did you see her at the shelter?
  • Were you a social worker, health care professional, or member of the Salvation Army that came into contact with “Hope” and other down and outs from Victoria Road Scarborough?
  • Did you find a dark blue quilted body warmer, blouse, jumper, dark mini skirt discarded along on the A170?

Peter Sutcliffe:

Peter Sutcliffe pictured in his TW Clark lorry circa 1976

  • Did you see Peter Sutcliffe (Image at beginning of the article) or a lorry from TW Clark (image above) in Scarborough or any of the locations mentioned in the article?
  • Did you work at Victoria Road, Roscoe Street, Andrews of Scarborough (motorcycle dealers), Deardens builders merchants, North Sea Winches D, Wray and Sons, Scarborough Ignition Co Ltd or Pickups or the old goods yard which is now Sainsburys?
  • Were you a taxi driver for Boro Taxis next to the café, or did you use taxi’s from there?
  • Did you frequent the café in Victoria Road and see Peter Sutcliffe there?
  • Did you know the café owner Iris Scott?

If you have any information on the “Nude in the Nettles” mystery that you want to pass on confidentially, you can talk to a journalist by contacting the North Yorks Enquirer using our address. All responses will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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