NEW evidence has come to light over the disappearance of sex worker Sally Ann John more than 20 years ago and police are now offering a £25,000 reward in a bit to obtain a conviction.
Sally Ann John, 23, who had been working on the streets between the bus and train station was last seen at around 10.50pm on Alexandra Street on September 8, 1995.
Tonight viewers of BBC's Crimewatch will hear exclusive new evidence and detectives will reveal previously unseen clues which include a postcard allegedly sent by Sally Ann to one of her friends three weeks after she disappeared.
The postcard was part of the evidence gathered when it was a missing persons inquiry but has now been re-examined by the Major Crime Investigation team based at Marlborough.
Now, 22 years later, Wiltshire Police want to speak to anyone with information about what happened and are offering a reward of £25,000 for information which leads to the discovery of Sally Ann's body or secures a conviction at court in relation to those responsible for her murder.
Crimewatch also features Sally Ann's mum, Lesley John who says when police told her that her daughter had gone missing she told them immediately that Sally Ann was dead.
"It's a horrible feeling that your daughter has been murdered because there is nothing you can do about it," she said.
And she added: "I just want her found and I want whoever it is to be accounted for."
The Crimewatch programme also shows a reconstruction of the night Sally Ann went missing.
When police first investigated the disappearance they could not find evidence to suggest that this was anything other than a missing person case.
However, in the years that followed, there was no sign of Sally Ann. When police reviewed the case in 2013, they carried out extensive checks to establish whether Sally Ann was still alive. These drew a blank and the case became a murder investigation. The case is being led by DCI Jeremy Carter.
Three men arrested in 2015 on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of Sally Ann John have been released without charge.
Forensics teams moved into Sally Ann’s former home in Kimmeridge Close where blood dogs and ground penetrating radar equipment were used in the hunt for clues.
Following the renewed investigation, detectives arrested three men, two from Swindon and one from Chippenham.
They were released on bail but had to report regularly to their local police stations for many months while detectives the investigation continued.
But ahead of tonight’s appeal, a spokesman for Wiltshire Police has said: “We can confirm that the three suspects have now been released with no further action at this time.
“Enquiries are still very much ongoing and we would urge anyone with information in relation to the disappearance of Sally Ann John to call 101 immediately.”
Police say there is no link between the latest appeal for clues in the Sally Ann John murder investigation and the major forensic operation that took place in Broadgreen last month.
However, they have also confirmed they are not ruling it out.
Specialist officers spent two weeks digging in the garages and back yards behind the former Broad Street home of double-murderer Christopher Halliwell.
Halliwell, 53, is currently serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of two young women from Swindon.
He killed 20-year-old Becky Godden in January 2003 and 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011 in cases that captured the attention of the town and the country.
After Halliwell’s second trial last year, the senior investigating officer in the case, Det Supt Sean Memory, said it was possible there were more victims.
But despite those fears Wiltshire Police have never formally linked him with any other investigations.
A spokesman for the force said: “It is fair to say there may be further victims of Halliwell, given that there was an eight-year gap between the murder of Becky Godden and the murder of Sian O'Callaghan.
“However, we are not linking him to any investigations at this time.”
Crimewatch has been key to solving many crimes
WHEN tonight’s episode of Crimewatch ends the police will be hoping for the phones to start ringing off the hook.
Now hosted by BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine and BBC Radio 1’s Tina Daheley, the programme started 33 years ago and reconstructs major unsolved crimes in order to gain information from the public which may assist in solving cases.
Jeremy said: “I grew up watching Crimewatch. It is one of the most powerful programmes the BBC has ever broadcast with the power to change and save lives, and of course, to solve crimes. To present it is a great honour.”
Tina said: “I also grew up watching Crimewatch and I feel very privileged to join a programme that’s allowed ordinary viewers to help bring criminals to justice and make our communities safer.
Crimewatch’s executive editor Joe Mather says: “Crimewatch and its viewers are at the heart of solving serious crime in the UK.
“Your call really could be all it takes to put an offender behind bars.”
The programme has been described as ‘public service broadcasting at its best.’
When Crimewatch was first broadcast on June 7, 1984, BBC bosses were reportedly not keen on the idea and at the time only five out of Britain’s 53 police forces wanted anything to do with the programme.
When the first show went out the presenters at the time, Nick Ross and Sue Cook, weren’t even sure viewers would ring in.
But before it came off air around 400 viewers had picked up the phone.
The programme now pulls in millions of viewers per episode.
One in three cases broadcast ends in an arrest and one in five leads to a conviction.