The families of murder victims in Huddersfield could finally see the killers traced and brought to justice.
A new series of “cold case” reviews are to begin after the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner allocated £1.5m to employ extra staff to help crack historical unsolved murder and rape cases.
And a number of such murder cases in Huddersfield and Calderdale are among the 55 dating back to the 1970s to be re-investigated.
The money will allow the Force to employ a team of 35 new investigators.
Huddersfield murder cases to be examined include Sheepridge mum-of two Sarah Lewin, killed in 1994; seven-year-old arson attack victim Joe McCafferty in 1997; and gun shot victims Brian Hardwick in 2001 and Jasem Asakerh in 2003.
A Calderdale case currently under review is that of murdered 13-year-old Lindsay Jo Rimer of Hebden Bridge.
Det Supt Simon Atkinson said: “West Yorkshire Police never close a case. We are constantly looking for new opportunities, evidence and witnesses to come forward.
“We have been allocated a significant £1.5m from the Police and Crime Commisioner which will allow us to recruit up to 35 new investigators solely dedicated to the task of reviewing 55 cases.
“We have some currently being reviewed. If opportunities are there we will pursue them. It is a painstaking task, looking at cases back to 1974.”
But Mr Atkinson, who is personally overseeing the case of Calderdale missing woman Lindsay Jo Rimer said it is vital for the victim’s families.
He added: “Twenty years on and we recently appealed to find Lindsay Rimer’s killer. Time is not a barrier for us in any case. It is all about getting closure for the victims families.
“We speak to victims families regularly and really feel their pain. They are living this on a daily basis. How do they know they won’t walk past a suspect in the street?
“Why should the killer enjoy these freedoms when the victim’s loved ones feel the pain of not knowing everyday”.
Commisioner Mark Burns-Williamson, added: “There have been some incredible advances in forensic techniques over the years which can help bring criminals to justice from years ago but also mean that the HMET team and Major Investigation Review Team have an ever increasing workload of cases. This is good news of course, but needs to be effectively resourced.
“More and more people who thought they had got away with it are now safely behind bars but there is always more that can be done.”
Mr Burns-Williamson said the £1.5m funding, which has been found from spending reviews, will secure the additional team for a year and a half.
The mum-of-three was battered to death at her home in Bradley Boulevard, Sheepridge, on January 14, 1994.
The weapon was thought to have been a glass ashtray but no motive was found for the killing.
Thirteen-year-old Lindsay was last seen in Hebden Bridge on November 7 1994 at just after 10.22pm at the Spa shop on Crown Street.
Her body was found five months later on April 12, 1995 in the Rochdale Canal, bringing to an end a massive search.
Anyone with information is asked to call detectives directly on 01924 334604 or text on 07786 200805. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.
Seven-year-old Joe McCafferty died after petrol was poured through the letterbox of a house in Marsh, Huddersfield on May 3, 1997.
Joe’s aunt, two cousins and older brother were also in the house when it was set alight.
Last month- 18 years after Joe’s death - police arrested a 65-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman on suspicion of murder.
Both have since been released on bail.
Brian was shot dead by someone who had deliberately punctured his car tyre to make him stay after his colleagues left Huddersfield Car Electrical Services on Colne Road left work on November 21, 2001.
His wallet was stolen and his cashpoint card used at Huddersfield’s Asda store minutes after the killing to withdraw £350 from his account.
Mr Asakerh, who moved to the UK from Iran in 2003, was shot as he sat in the back of an Audi Q7 car on Brook Street, Thornton Lodge, on April 3, 2009.
He died from a single bullet wound to the chest.
The victim was with four other men when he was killed by a lone gunman wearing a bandana across his face who is believed to have fired two shots before running off towards Moorbottom Road.
In unrelated investigations, police would like to speak to the people pictured in the image gallery below. The people pictured in the images may be witnesses as well as suspects. If you recognise anyone, contact police on 101 quoting the reference number on the image caption.