It is 24 years since mother of two Sarah Lewin was beaten to death at her Sheepridge home. Detectives are now reviewing the case. Andrew Robinson reports.
The twin brother of Sarah Lewin has made a fresh public appeal for help in solving his sister’s brutal murder in January 1994.
Jimmy Lewin has released new photographs of his sister to the Examiner just days before what would have been her 60th birthday.
And he said the family hadn’t lost hope of police catching the killer despite the passage of 24 years.
Family members are pinning their hopes on West Yorkshire Police which this week confirmed that a team of ‘cold case’ detectives are actively reviewing the case.
Jimmy, of Dalton, said: “Sarah was a few weeks off her 36th birthday when she was murdered.
“Whenever I hear Sarah’s name I get extremely angry because there are people out there who know what happened but I just don’t think they care enough to come forward.
“I believe that somebody saw something but was too scared and are keeping their mouth shut. This wasn’t done a stranger, it was someone who knew Sarah well.”
Sarah was killed in her council home in Bradley Boulevard in the early hours of January 14, 1994.
Her body was found in a downstairs room at 11am when a female friend called for a coffee. Sarah had suffered multiple head injuries, possibly inflicted by a pub-style heavy glass ashtray.
A neighbour reported hearing a scream from the house at around 3am.
Police have previously said that Sarah probably knew her killer and had let them into her home. She was said to be frightened in the days leading up to her death and may have been threatened or stalked.
Her killer may have been someone seeking drugs or money.
Jimmy and his brother Jason both believe that their sister would have known her killer and that her murder was related to her involvement in supplying amphetamines to friends on the estate.
Jason, of Newsome, said: “She knew that someone was going to come and get her. She put her two kids into foster care because she didn’t want them around as she knew something was going to happen. I believe drugs got her into trouble.”
He added: “It’s got to be somebody she knew well - someone who had been to her house before and someone who lived on the estate.”
Jason, 48, said that the family was still dealing with the pain of losing Sarah and knowing the killer was still at large.
“As a family it is killing us. We have had to live through 24 years. It’s hard not knowing who the culprit is. There’s nothing I would not do to get it solved. We need to find out who has done this. When she died it was like my life had just stopped.”
He remembers Sarah as “everything a big sister should be” - kind and caring and “always there for us”.
“She was a good sister, she was a good laugh. I live in hope of someone being prosecuted for this. I pray for the day someone comes forward. I have never lost hope.
“When something like this happens to your own flesh and blood it never leaves you. We have good days and we have bad days.”
Jimmy, who is 60 later this month, remembers Sarah as a very social person who had many friends.
“We were never apart from birth. We did everything together, from going to pubs and to nightclubs. We went to school together and were fostered together when we were six.
“I have never known anyone to receive so many birthday and Christmas cards. She had loads of friends and was very outgoing. She was always smiling and happy. A lot of people liked her and I never came across anyone who had a bad word to say about her.”
Sarah’s children, Leanne and Kyle, who are now adults, had faced “tremendously hard” times because of the loss of their mother, says Jimmy.
And he said Sarah’s mother Pauline Bennett and sister Lorraine had both passed away without ever finding out who had taken Sarah from them.
“Mum’s heart was broken,” said Jimmy. “And Millie (Lorraine) was heartbroken.”
The brothers have welcomed news that detectives with the Major Investigation Review Team, which reviews undetected homicides, are looking into the case.
Jimmy said: “I am really made up and satisfied that West Yorkshire Police are helping us.”
Jason added: “We are happy and grateful to West Yorkshire Police - we want something to happen with the case.”
This week West Yorkshire Police issued a renewed appeal for information to help solve the murder.
A force spokesman said Sarah was killed at her home between 11pm on Thursday January 13 and 11.23am on Friday January 14.
“The victim suffered a sustained and violent assault from which she died,” said the spokesman.
Det Supt Jim Dunkerley of the Protective Services (Crime) department is leading the investigation.
He said: “We never close a case until we have achieved justice for the victim.
“This case is no exception and it is one the review team is actively looking at.
“Sarah suffered an horrific assault from which she could not recover. There is a strong likelihood that people out there know who is responsible for what happened.
“I want to appeal directly to those people – I want them to examine their conscience. This murder happened a long time ago and in that time people’s loyalties can change.
“You might have previously had suspicions about a loved one or friend but chose not to say anything because of a misguided loyalty to them.
“Please have another think – we all owe it to Sarah to get justice for her.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.