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Arrest in 2003 murder probe

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

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  • The home of murdered widow Joan Roddam at Delebole, pictured back in 2003

  • MURDERED: Joan Roddam, whose body was found in fields behind her bungalow at West Downs, near Delabole, in 2003. Inset: Police at the scene during the original investigation.

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A NORTH Cornwall man was arrested yesterday morning following a re-investigation of the murder of a widow in Delabole more than ten years ago.

The body of Joan Roddam, 74, was found in her night clothes in a field at the rear of her bungalow at West Downs, Delabole, during the evening of Saturday, November 8, 2003.

A post-mortem examination revealed that she had died from asphyxiation.

A 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder early yesterday at his bungalow in the village.

The unexpected development in the case is thought to have come after files were subject to a cold case review.

Fresh forensic tests are also thought to have been carried out.

The man was still being interviewed at Launceston police station yesterday as the Cornish Guardian went to press.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Police have arrested a man following a re-investigation of a 2003 murder inquiry.

"This follows a review by Cornwall's Major Crime Investigation Team. Their inquiries have resulted in the arrest of a 42-year-old local man on suspicion of murder."

Mrs Roddam was reported missing by a home delivery driver. He had arrived with her groceries only to find the front door unlocked and no one inside.

He called out and searched the bungalow, and then called others, including his wife, to help him, before calling the police to say they were worried about her as she was nowhere to be seen.

Police with dogs found her body two hours later in a field on the other side of her hedge with a wheelbarrow partly on top of her.

Public reassurance was a key element of the investigation as Mrs Roddam's death occurred only three days after the killings of Carol and Graham Fisher, at Wadebridge, and six months after the murder of farmer Les Bate, at Chapel Amble.

Two brothers from Weston-super-Mare were jailed for life in January 2006 for the shotgun murders of the Fishers at their petrol filling station.

Carol and Graham Fisher were shot and bludgeoned to death at their home at Perch Garage on Bonfire Night 2003. Their killers were ordered to serve a minimum of 26 years.

The killing of Les Bate remains unresolved despite appeals for information from the police and his family.

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