POLICE have revealed some of the Oxford murder cases which still remain unsolved years after the crimes were committed.

A Freedom of Information request to Thames Valley Police has shown there are four city murders over the past 20 years for which noone has ever been charged.

In other cases charges which were brought have later been dropped, and there are yet more historic cold cases which date back more than 20 years.

However in the past two decades alone there are four cases where nobody has been charged with what police believe to be murder. Three out of the four of those victims were men – all killed in 2002.

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One was Brian Francis, beaten to death at his Blackbird Leys flat in February that year.

The 51-year-old had multiple injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics were called to his home by a mystery caller.

Oxford Mail:

Brian Francis

The victim’s ground floor flat was well-known as a haunt of drug users but police investigations proved fruitless.

A telephone booth near his home in Merlin Road, thought to have been used by the person who dialled 999, was even taken away by police for forensic testing.

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Another cold case which has been shelved pending further evidence is the murder of Joseph Byrne.

A killer had doused Mr Byrne in corrosive chemicals in Littlemore in June, 17 years ago.

Paramedics found the 61 year-old injured in his flat in Herschel Crescent, where he told them he had been assaulted.

The former carpenter from Ireland had suffered severe burns to his head, neck and chest and was rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital before he was transferred to a burns unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, near Aylesbury, where he died three weeks later of a heart attack brought on by his injuries.

At an inquest in 2006, a doctor said his burns were likely to have been caused by a household cleaning product.

Oxford Mail:

Joseph Byrne

A 42-year-old woman, formerly of Herschel Crescent, was arrested on suspicion of murder shortly after his death but was then released without charge.

Mystery also surrounds the death of Peter Henderson, whose body was found in his flat by a friend in Danvers Road in Rose Hill in July, the same year.

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At the time, three men were arrested in connection with the 58 year-old’s death, but they were eventually released without charge.

The case was then passed over to the coroner in 2004.

The pathologist told the inquest that Mr Henderson was found dead with bleeding on his brain caused by fractures to the back of his skull.

Police had launched a murder investigation but said that the former motor racing engineer, who had retired through ill health, had either slipped or had been killed.

Peter Henderson

Oxford Mail:

Police have, however, recently made progress on one unsolved murder – that of 16-year-old Harun Jama, who died a year-and-a-half ago.

On Saturday, the force revealed that a 34-year-old man had been arrested the previous day in Liverpool on suspicion of murdering Harun.

The teenager was found stabbed and bleeding to death under the footbridge in Friars Wharf, near the Westgate Centre, in January 2018.

The keen footballer from Birmingham was taken to hospital where he later died of his injuries.

The 34-year-old arrested on murder has been released on bail until October 2.

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Harun Jama

Oxford Mail:

Thames Valley Police on Friday said there were no updates on the murders, but insisted the force’s Major Crime Investigations Review Team – which consists of a small group of experienced detectives – were constantly reviewing cases.

The team was set up in 2007 as a branch of the Major Crime Unit, to reinvestigate unsolved murders and historic sexual abuse.

Since 2010 the team has solved at least four historic murders of women.