Cranhill in fear as hunt for killer enters third month

WITHERED floral tributes are the only traces of tragedy to be found in Cranhill.

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  • Locals say they are afraid to use the park since Jean Campbell's murder
    Locals say they are afraid to use the park since Jean Campbell's murder
  • Locals say they are afraid to use the park since Jean Campbell's murder

Dozens of people come and go in Bellrock Street, but never far from their thoughts is the horror that unfolded here.

One young mother was pushing her baby in a pram, as she walked around the perimeter of Cranhill Park.

"I would never walk through the park", she said. "Not now. Not after what happened to poor Jean."

In this quiet city park, Jean Campbell spent the final moments of her life, before she was brutally murdered.

The mum-of-three took her dog, Kai, for a walk late on December 13 and was never seen alive again.

Her horrified husband John, 55, after coming home from night shift and discovering she was missing, found her body in a disused playpark.

Today it is two months since the 53-year-old was discovered, just yards from the safety of her home.

But the motive for Mrs Campbell's murder - and identity of the killer - remain a mystery.

Less than 100 yards from the disused playpark, Mrs Campbell's home lies empty and boarded up.

Outside, on the veranda, clothes are still hanging on the washing line.

Mrs Campbell's grief-stricken husband has had to move out of their Bellrock Street home.

Neighbour said Mr Campbell "couldn't bear" to live there without his wife.

One floral tribute placed outside the house read: "Sorry you're gone, Jean.

"You didn't deserve this."

At Mrs Campbell's local shop, staff remember a "lovely woman" who was laughing and joking with them just hours before her killing.

Posters with "Murder: Information Appeal" branded on them are displayed in the window, with a picture of Mrs Campbell. There is also a version in the Polish language.

"She was one of my most regular customers", said Shashi Gajri, who owns Cranhill Convenience Store.

"I miss her very much, we all do. She was a lovely lady.

"People coming into the shop are very scared, especially the women. They say they don't want to be out, they don't feel safe."

Police have stepped up their presence in Cranhill Park - which was the scene of a brutal robbery and sex attack in 2011 - in a bid to reassure concerned locals.

"It is reassuring to see the police - especially at night", said a local mother-of-two.

"But it's terrifying to think the person who did this is still out there too.

"We've had three killings here in the last few months, it's terrible.

"Things won't get back to normal around here until he is caught, some women are still afraid to be out at night.

"Someone out there must know something."

The park today is very different to how it was on December 14 last year, when the area was cordoned off for days as police searched for clues.

A fleet of police vehicles descended on the area, with officers stationed around the park's perimeter.

Shredded pieces of blue and white police tape, still tied to the railings, are all that are left.

Now, mums with prams, joggers and children on bikes, go about their daily routine.

But people are still wary of being noticed or photographed in the area.

In November, the body of 49-year-old Edward Bennett was found in his flat in Cranhill.

Two people, a 40-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman, were arrested.

In December, Tracey Meikle was found guilty of murdering of mum-of-two Lorraine Foy, 36, at flats in the area's Crowlin Crescent.

Local MSP, Paul Martin, said: "Cranhill is an area which has seen three murders in the past few months, and police have to work to provide long-term reassurance.

"I'm really encouraged by the community spirt which has been shown in Cranhill since this tragic incident.

I believe, because of the determination of local people, the person responsible for this crime will be caught.

"Community spirit will win in the end."

For decades, Cranhill Park had been the scene of gang fights.

But the situation has massively improved in recent years, after the entire Cranhill area underwent a major programme of investment.

Old tenements have also been pulled down, while new housing has sprung up.

Today the East End community is being urged to give up its secrets to help bring the killer of Mrs Campbell to justice.

Murder squad detectives have called for people to dig deep into their conscience, as they remain convinced the answer lies within the local area.

More than 1100 locals - both men and women - have been DNA tested in bid to find her killer.

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Carey, from Police Scotland's Major Investigation Team, is leading the investigation.

He said: "The murderer may have sustained minor injuries during the attack.

It is possible that their clothing was dirty or stained with mud or grass.

"If you know anyone who came home late on the evening of December 13, or early hours of December 14, with unexplained injuries, dirt- stained clothing or was acting strangely, then please contact police."

Mrs Campbell was spotted on CCTV at 10.30pm on December 13 near to Cranhill Park. She was wearing pyjama bottoms and a black, hooded puffa-style jacket.

Detectives made an appeal on the BBC's Crimewatch programme last month, and received "a number of calls" about the murder.

Millions of television viewers watched as the last known sighting of Mrs Campbell on CCTV was played.

Mr Carey said the public response to previous appeals for information had been "very positive" but urged anyone with information to come forward.

He added: "I really do believe that there is someone out there who is harbouring the person responsible."

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

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