Saturday, 6 July 2013

The Murder of Melanie Hall

Todat the Murder Casebook looks at the unsolved murder in 1996 of 25 years old Melanie Hall, whose remains were not discovered for thirteen years.  Melanie was born on August 20th 1970, in Bradford-Upon-Avon, and graduated from Bath University in 1995.  She found work as a clerical officer at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.  Whilst there, she met and started dating a young German doctor Philip Karlbaum.  On the night of June 9th, she was at the Cadillacs Nightclub in Bath, but later on had an arguement with Karlbaum resulting in him leaving the club.  It was to be the last time he saw her.

    Next day, her parents reported her missing as she had not turned up for work.  Police questioned Karlbaum, him being the boyfriend and also because of the arguement they had in the club, but he was quickly eliminated.  She was last seen in the club at 1.10am, and then nothing.  Appeals were made on tv show Crimewatch, and through Crimestoppers also, but it brought no results.  Melanie was officially declared deceased on 17th November 2004.  But it was in 2009 that the family anguish was resolved although not in the way they would have liked.

    A workman discovered a bin bag by the M5 Motorway at Thornbury in South Gloustershire, that contained human remains.  A post-mortem positively identified the remains as those of Melanie.  A renewed Police investigation swung into action with one detective carrying on working with the case despite reaching retirement.  He had worked on the case from day one.  Over the next two years, some people were arrested and bailed, but nobody has faced any charges.  Years before, in 2003, two men were arrested and qestioned over the disappearance of Melanie but were subsequently released.  Then in 2009, a man made a confession to Greater Manchester Police but this was dismissed after a psychiatric examination of the man.  Another arrest occured in July 2010, that of a 38 years old Bath man, who was bailed.  The next month, a 39 years old man from Wiltshire was arrested and bailed. 

    Other suspects that have emerged are the so-called "Batman Rapist" an attacker whom left a batman baseball cap at the scene of his crime.  This man tried to hijack a car from a woman, but she fought him off despite receiving knife injuries.  This was hours before Melanie vanished.  The other suspect is notorious killer and rapist, John Cannan, whom it is alleged had tried to organise the crime from prison.  The alleged assailant being a convicted rapist named Christopher Clark.   The theory is that Cannan wanted to pull off the "Perfect Abduction" and had claimed he had a woman writing to him whom was completely obsessed with him.  The woman supposedly lived around the Bath area.  This does not wash with me, as Melanie had a man in her life, and if she was "Obsessed" with Cannan, then surely somebody would have known something, her behaviour would have aroused suspicion.  An obsessive would not let anything or anybody get in the way of the object of their obsession.  Cannan is a manipulator who may have wanted to get the Police looking at him, or is after more notoriety, despite his repeated assertions he is an innocent man.  It may take forensics to crack this but it looks remote.