A 70-year-old has appeared in court charged with the murder of 15-year-old Jacqueline Marie Thomas, whose body was discovered in allotments in 1961.
The body of the teenager was found in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, on August 25. She is believed to have been sexually assaulted and strangled with an underskirt, West Midlands Police said. Today, Anthony Hall, of no fixed address, spoke only to confirm his identity at the hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.
He was remanded in custody to appear at the city’s Crown Court on December 6. A police spokeswoman said the charge followed a review of Jacqueline’s murder.
The "cold case" had been investigated by the Major Crime Review Team, a group of senior West Midlands police detectives expert in examining historic cases.
In the last few years, the team has used the latest DNA technology to crack a number of unsolved crimes dating back more than 20 years. They began reviewing Jacqueline's murder earlier this year.
The teenager vanished after visiting a funfair with friends on the night of August 18, 1961. Her parents immediately alerted the police after she failed to return home. A week later her body was found at a disused allotment near her home by dog walker James Ponting.
In a newspaper dated August 26, 1961, Mr Ponting said: "My dog Mick ran into the long grass and although I called him twice he would not return. I went into the long grass to fetch him.
"Then I saw a head – I thought at first it was a young man. I looked closer and saw that there was a body sprawled there."
The teenager was one of eight sisters and the discovery of her body sparked a major police hunt.
Posters of Jacqueline were plastered across Birmingham and hundreds of officers were involved in the search, tracing her friends and visiting more than 1,000 homes in the hunt for clues.
A total of 250 posters were circulated around Alum Rock and police also appealed to fans at the St Andrew's ground during the Birmingham City versus Leicester City football fixture.
At the time, Det Supt Nicholas Brennan, acting head of Birmingham CID, said medical examiners stated she had been dead for at least five days.
Tests showed she had probably been killed where she was found, not far from her home in Everton Road, Alum Rock.
Detectives sought help from workers at the Hughes Biscuit Factory where Jacqueline had been employed before leaving to apply for a post at the Birmingham Waste Company.
Officers also showed photographs of her to showmen at the Bob Wilson Fair in the hope someone might have remembered seeing her in her distinctive white jeans and a black sweater.
Schools across the city were visited to seek help from youngsters. A large number of people gathered for Jacqueline's funeral service at St Matthew's Church, Duddeston, on September 14, 1961.
A police spokesman said yesterday: "West Midlands Police regularly review unsolved murder cases.
"As part of any review, we may revisit evidence and speak to witnesses from the original inquiry."