A Birmingham pensioner serving a life sentence for the murder of a teenage girl will not be tried for the death of another teenager whose body was found 47 years ago.
Anthony Hall, 70, had been accused of the murder of 15-year-old Jacqueline Thomas, who was believed to have been sexually assaulted and strangled after leaving a fair.
Her partly decomposed body was discovered in allotments in Bordesley Green on August 25, 1961.
Hall, of no fixed address, had denied the charge.
In 1969 he was convicted of the murder of 16-year-old Sylvia Whitehouse.
He had offered her a lift in his car late at night and stabbed her a number of times with a screwdriver.
Her body was later found on waste ground near Birmingham Airport.
Hall was charged with the murder of Miss Thomas following a coldcase review by police last year.
However, at Birmingham Crown Court, following legal submissions, Judge Frank Chapman ruled that the charge should be stayed saying that the matter was now “just too long ago”.
He said Hall would not be able to have a fair and balanced trial.
Judge Chapman, who lifted restrictions on the reporting of the case, said: “If they (the prosecution) had turned up something new it would have made all the difference, or may have done.”
Michael Burrows QC, prosecuting, told the judge that it was not the prosecution’s intention to appeal his decision.
Afterwards, Glen Moss, from West Midland Police’s Major Crime Review Team, said: “Clearly we are not looking for anybody else but we respect the decision of the court.”
Earlier, in giving his ruling, Judge Chapman said: “I am aware of the strong pubic interest in bringing a killer to justice. I am aware that this must be the very last chance to bring someone before a court for the death of Jacqueline Thomas but I must not let these pressures compound one injustice on another.
“In my view any trial which was to follow, in this case, would not be balanced and fair.”
Hall had originally been a suspect in the murder investigation in 1961 although the police had decided not to charge him.
The judge said that since the original investigation, 21 witnesses had died while others could not be traced or were too ill to attend.
Those that remained, he said, had made statements at the time but would no longer have any real recollection of events.
Judge Chapman said the case against Hall had centred around two crucial points – the time when Jacqueline Thomas died and the last person she had been seen with before she was killed.
He said evidence and records had not been kept and because of the passage of time the defence had been deprived of exploring these matters properly.
Jacqueline was last seen alive on August 18, 1961, at a fair. Her body was found a week later in undergrowth in a nearby disused allotment by a man walking his dog. The site was a few hundred yards from her home in Everton Road, Alum Rock.
The teenager was one of eight sisters and the discovery sparked a major police hunt.
Hall, who was then married with a baby, was among the witnesses who gave evidence at Jacqueline’s inquest the year after her death.
The coldcase review by the West Midlands Police review team, a group of senior detectives expert in historic cases, was launched last year. The team has used the latest DNA technology to crack a number of unsolved crimes dating back more than 20 years.