Date: 25 Aug 1991
Veronica Anderson was found dead in her blue Ford Cortina car in Tannery Lane, Penketh, with her throat cut in the small hours of Sunday 25 August 1991, a Bank Holiday weekend.
Police found a bloodstained glove at the scene as well as a length of cord similar to window sash cord. Police said that forensic analysis showed that the glove had been in contact with Veronica Anderson and believed that the killer had left if behind.
They were also looking for a man that was seen in the Crown and Cushion pub on Warrington Road in Penketh at about 10.30pm with a woman that matched Veronica Anderson's description. He was described as white, with mousy coloured short hair that was neat and wispy, and had a mousy coloured moustache, cut neatly into the corners of his mouth. He was also described as being in his late 30s or early 40s, with a thin face, to the extent that his temples appeared sunken, and was described as slim and wearing a fawn coloured jacket.
The location where Veronica Anderson was later found in her car was a location often used by drug users and was patrolled by the police who were there at 10.45pm, but they didn't see Veronica Anderson's Cortina there then.
The registration of her car was given as PCX 38X.
Veronica Anderson had lived in Hadfield Close in Widnes with her 7-year-old son.
She used to socialise at a nearby truck stop called the Roll Inn Truck Stop in Tan House Lane, Widnes, and it was noted that many of her friends that she met there were long distance lorry drivers. She was well known at the truck stop, going there two or three times a week, and was one of the few women regulars there. It was also found that over the years she had had several steady relationships with truck drivers that she had met there. It was noted that at the time she had a boyfriend who she had met in the Roll Inn Truck Stop who would stay with her on Fridays and then head home to his wife in the south of England where he lived for the rest of the week.
On Saturday 24 August 1991, Veronica Anderson went out at about 9.50pm or 10.15pm after recieving a call. Just before she left she unloaded the boot of her old Ford Cortina car and it was thought that she might have been making room for something. Before she went out she had her son call on her neighbour and asked her to have him there for ten minutes saying that she had to go out and pick up her brother, saying that she would tell her about it when she got back. However, her neighbour noted that it was unusual that Veronica Anderson had told her that she had to go out and pick up her brother as she ordinarily referred her brothers by their first names and not by 'my brother'. The neighbour also added that she thought that it was unusual for Veronica Anderson to go out that late at night on her own.
Veronica Anderson had had a phone call earlier on, which was thought had prompted her to go out, but it was not known who it was from. However, it was said that it seemed certain that her murderer had made the call.
It was noted that when Veronica Anderson had left her home at 9.50pm or 10.15pm on the Saturday, telling her neighbour that she had an appointment, she had indicated that she could not be long and had even left her TV switched on.
It was thought that she then went to the Crown and Cushion pub on Warrington Road in Penketh at about 10.30pm. It was noted that although the pub was only about five minutes drive from her home, she rarely went there. However, a woman there said that she remembered seeing a lady walking in through the front door, noting that she was obviously looking for somebody. She said that when she next looked over at the woman, Veronica Anderson, she saw that she had her back to her and that she was involved in a conversation with somebody who she didn't see. The woman added that the person that Veronica Anderson had met in the pub must have been expecting her, and must have had a drink waiting for her, as in the length of time that they had both been there, having arrived at about the same time, Veronica Anderson already had a drink in her hand when she looked over at her, even though she would not have had time to have gone to the bar and got one herself in the time that they had been there since entering.
Another customer, a regular at the Crown and Cushion pub, said that he also noticed the woman who was thought to have been Veronica Anderson, noting that she had open, pleasant face, adding that she seemed very interested in what was going on at the bar, both with the customers and with the service. He said that he did see her speak to someone there with her on the odd occasion, but said that they didn't appear to be lovers, or husband and wife, and that it looked like they knew each other and that that was it.
The regular customer described the man that he had seen with the woman as being about 5ft 8in up to 5ft 11in, with mousey to gingerish hair, a mousy moustache, a thin face and was in his late 30's and possibly into his 40's. He was also said to have been wearing a fawn jacket.
By closing time, the man, and the woman thought to have been Veronica Anderson had left, but no one had seen them leave.
The police later said that they were convinced that the man and woman seen in the Crown and Cushion pub were Veronica Anderson and her murderer.
A while later, a man who lived in Tannery Lane, about a two minute drive from the Crown and Cushion pub, that over looked the old tannery said that before he went to bed at about 11pm he looked out of his window as he usually did for cats as he kept racing pigeons, and said that he saw a car parked in the works with its headlamps on.
Later, at about 1.30am, a man and a woman were walking along Tannery Lane on their way home from the local social club and noticed the car in the Old Tannery, but just thought that it belonged to a courting couple.
At about the same time, 1.30am, a taxi-driver said that he picked up a man in Warrington Road, Penketh, which was about half a mile from the murder scene and the Crown and Cushion pub and asked to be taken to the Halton View area of Widnes, which was about 100 yards from where Veronica Anderson lived. The man was described as being in his 30's and was wearing a raincoat. However, it was further noted that the man's right hand appeared to be injured and he had a handkerchief wrapped round it and his knuckles were grazed. The police noted that he might not have had anything to do with the murder, but they asked for him to come forward so that he could be eliminated from their enquiry.
A while later, a group of neighbours who had been out searching for a gang of thieves that had been interfering with cars, found Veronica Anderson slumped in her car. Then, moments after, a local policeman who had been called out in responce to a 999 call about the thieves, came upon the scene, arriving at 3.15am, and shone his torch into the car and saw that Veronica Anderson was dead.
Her throat had been cut. The pathologist later determined that he thought that she had died sometime between 11.30pm and 2.30am, noting that the severity of her neck wounds meant that she would have died almost immediatly.
It was noted that the motive for her murder was not robbery or a sexual assault and the police said that they did not know what the motive was. The police said that from their enquiries, they found that Veronica Anderson had no known enemies and that as far as they could tell, she was liked by everyone.
The police said that they thought that Veronica Anderson had gone out to meet someone that she knew, stating that they didn't think that she would have gone out that late on a Saturday night, leaving her child with her neighbour, for someone that she didn't know, noting that they thought that she had met the man that she was thought to have been seen with before.
The police said that they didn't find the murder weapon but said that they did find some cord which they said that from their enquiries, they determined had been made abroad, possibly in Italy. They said that the outer core of the rope was platted and that the inner core was made of a mix of man-made and natural fibres which they said was an unusual cotton mixture.
The police said that another item that was left behind in the car was a white Minette glove, noting that they could be purchased from stores throughout the country and that people used them for a range of application such as if they had dermatitis, or maybe in connection with their work for handling sensitive items, including delicate or specialised cargo.
The police also said that it was possible that the murderer might have used both the Minette gloves and he cord together in connection with his work.
It was noted that the initial search of the area was halted because of the threat of cyanide contamination from the old tannery works and the search was halted whilst the police waited for information from experts before allowing their police officers to search for vital clues.
It was reported early on, on 29 August 1991, that a man with a small child had called into the Silhouette wool shop in Halton View Road at 2pm on the Saturday, 24 August 1991 and had bought some wool for Veronica Anderson and the police said that they were keen to trace that man. He was described as being about 45 years old, more than 6ft tall, with short brown hair, a heavy moustache, and to have been wearing a shirt, tie and jacket. He was said to have been well built, with large hands and to have possible spoken with a local accent. The girl that had been with him was said to have been about 8 with shoulder length dark hair and with a pretty face.
It was later reported that although Veronica Anderson was a happy go lucky woman who frequented a stopping place for lorry drivers, she was not a man-mad divorcee. However, it was suggested that she might have been murdered in a jealous rage and that the man that had enticed her out for the rendezvous had been romantically interested in her, but that it might have been one-sided. It was also noted that although there were no signs of sexual contact associated with her murder, there was ample evidence that there had been a violent struggle between a man and a woman.
Veronica Anderson had run a business with her 18-year-old daughter and another woman supplying sandwiches to shops and factories in the Widnes area.