Date: 23 Jan 2005
Place: Holywell, Eastbourne, Sussex
Jennifer Kiely was found raped, stabbed and burnt in a thatched seaside shelter at the Holywell end of Eastbourne on Saturday 23 January 2005.
She had been stabbed 16 times in the upper body, raped and sexually assaulted. Police said that they were unable to determine whether she had been sexually assaulted before or after she had died. A detective said 'I can say from her injuries that this attack was sustained with a high degree of ferocity.'.
Her post-mortem stated that she had died from stab wounds to the chest.
Her body was found by council workers at about 5.15am while they were cleaning the area. A bonfire had also been built in the shelter.
Police said that they were interested in speaking to the driver of a car that had swerved to avoid a man that had been walking along Compton Street in the middle of the road at about 3am on the Saturday.
Two people were arrested at the time but released without charge. The police had closed her murder inquiry in 2007 saying that there was insufficient evidence but they later reopened it in 2011 and it was reported that since 2017 they had been following a new line of enquiry based on unidentified DNA evidence following forensic analysis of the evidence which they said allowed them to rule certain people out.
A double buggy was also found burnt out in the shelter. The police said that they had first thought that the buggy had been used to carry possessions but later said that they thought that it had been used to carry Jennifer Kiely's body to the seafront although they said that it might also have already been there.
Jennifer Kiely was about 4ft 10ins to 5ft tall, petite, with shoulder length brown hair. She had been wearing an elephant charm bracelet on her left wrist and a plain thin metal necklace. It was thought that she could have been wearing either a pink padded jacket and/or a black heavy woollen coat.
Police said that they had viewed 1,800 hours of CCTV footage and found two main suspects, one of whom remained a suspect, however, they said that there was unlikely to be a prosecution due to lack of evidence.
The police said that they did know that she had taken a bath at a house where she often stayed earlier in the evening of Friday 22 January 2005 and had afterwards gone into town. It was thought that she had been confronted by her killer at about 1am as she had been walking along the seafront.
Her inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.
She had left home six years before after developing a mental illness, thought most likely to have been schizophrenia, leaving her family, a husband and three children and had not been heard from since.
Jennifer Kiely was said to be often seen on the sea front at night and often slept rough although she had also lived in several houses and locations since arriving a few months earlier. She had also stayed in hostels and homeless shelters across the south of England. When she first left home in 1999 she had gone to Brighton where she had sold the Big Issue magazine, and then later gone to Canterbury in September 2003 where she stayed in sheltered-housing. In September 2004 she went to Eastbourne. Whilst there she made friends with a woman who let her sleep at her house although she still often slept out and was often seen on the seafront late at night.
Jennifer Kiely used to be a waitress.
see BBC Buggy clue in burnt body inquiry
see BBC Burnt body woman had been stabbed
see BBC Torched woman sexually assaulted
see BBC Torched murder victim identified
see BBC Reward over burning body murder
see BBC Seafront murder 'still unsolved'
see The Argus