Date: 30 Mar 1993
Jean Bradley was stabbed to death in Carbery Avenue in Acton by her BMW car which she had parked there as part of her commute to work.
She died from multiple stab wounds caused by an eight-inch blade which was thought to have been either a carving knife or a butcher's knife. She was stabbed eight times.
A 38-year-old man was charged with her murder, but the case against him collapsed after a two-day committal hearing at Ealing Magistrates Court on 12 November 1993, after it was heard that the man told the court that he had been at home at the time of the murder at his flat in Chiswick and had a witness to prove it. Following the collapse of the case at the magistrates court the police were described as being locked in talks with the Crown Prosecution Service over it. The man was from Downside in Northolt.
Jean Bradley was a business woman working with an American firm, PRIcoa Relocation Management and specialised in helping companies move premises and worked from an office in New Bond Street in London. She had previously been a stewardess with the Royal Flight.
She had left her car there in Carbery Avenue at about 7.30am the morning, 25 March 1993 on her way into work.
She lived on Pine Ridge in Crowethorne in Berkshire with her boyfriend, a teacher with whom she had been with for 21 years.
Her boyfriend that she had lived with said that he last spoke to her on the Sunday before she was murdered and that at the time of her murder, he was in Rome on a school trip. He noted that they had plans to both go off to Rome again on holiday about a week after Easter week he got back from the school trip, adding that Jean Bradley was very much looking forward to it.
Jean Bradley's boyfriend said that when Jean Bradley moved to her new job in London, they had some trouble in finding the best way there from Crowthorne, and said that in the end they decided that the best way in was for her to drive to Acton Town Tube Station and then to make the rest of the journey by a fast tube to New Bond Street. Part of that process involved determining whether the road that she was going to leave her car parked in was safe as she was interested in keeping it meticulous. Her boyfriend said that when they checked out the streets where she could park her car near the tube station that their main interest was the safety of the car and that they had not formed any views on her own personal safety regarding the streets, noting that it simply didn't appear to be that sort of area.
On 25 March 1993 Jean Bradley left work and travelled home on the Piccadilly line from Green Park Station arriving at Acton Town Tube Station at about 7.20pm by which time it was dark.
After leaving the tube station, Jean Bradley stopped off en-route to buy a couple of cans of drink from a shop.
Soon after another commuter said that she remembered walking past Jean Bradley in Gunnersbury Gardens and said that she recalled that there was no one else in the street at the time.
Jean Bradley had left her car in Carbery Avenue which was just off Gunnersbury Gardens.
When Jean Bradley reached her car, it was thought that she had just put her bag in the back seat when she was attacked at about 7.30pm. She was heard to scream by local neighbours and a carpenter who was driving along Carbery Avenue said that he saw a man struggling with a woman on the pavement, noting that it seemed pretty serious to him. He said that he stopped his van and jumped out and shouted at the man who then ran off.
At about the same time a woman and her son who were passing in a Ford Escort car then followed the attacker along Carbery Avenue. The woman said that the man was quite tall and was taking long strides but said that he wasn't running away in any great hurry. She said that he looked really odd as he had a silly hat on that looked like a sowester which she said was not the type of hat that a person would wear around Acton. The woman said that she was halfway along Gunnersbury gardens when she sensed a van behind her in a great hurry and so she pulled over to let him past, and that as it did, she sent her son off to call the police. It was the carpenters van and he went ahead and pulled up in front of the man and attempted to confront him, but the carpenter said that the man had a black bag in his hand with something rigid in it and went to strike him and that as he moved aside the man went around him and ran off. The carpenter then chased the man along Gunnersbury Lane, just off the North Circular Road whilst the other women in the Ford Escort continued in the chase and was able to get ahead of the man.
The woman in the Ford Escort said that as she saw the man running towards her, she said that she got a very good look at him and said that the carpenter was a good pace or two behind him. The woman said that when the carpenter passed her he told her that a woman had been attacked and asked her to call the police and said that the carpenter then continued chasing the man and that she watched them both run off together towards Acton Town Station. She said that she then thought it best to drive off home and to make sure that her son had called the police.
The carpenter continued to chase the man for about a mile into South Acton Estate by which time it was nearly 7.45pm. At the edge of the estate the carpenter almost caught up with the man that he had been chasing.
The carpenter said that as he chased the man he would hide to make it look like he wasn't chasing him, hiding behind trees and cars and noted that the man didn't look back very often. The carpenter said that all along the chase he didn't think that the man was very fit, noting that when he came to the end of the estate near Church Road, instead of jumping over some railings there, he went around them.
The carpenter said that the man looked back and saw him and then ran off again but said that he lost him near the Prince of Wales public house after he was delayed slightly by a passing car and that when he went into Ragely Close he lost sight of the man. The carpenter noted that at one point he managed to throw a bin at the man but it didn't stop him.
In a later interview, the carpenter said that after he got out of his van and confronted the man on the pavement he, 'blocked him from where he wanted to go and he looked back. I said 'come on, try me' but the man raised his arm with a solid object inside a plastic bag gripped in his fist. He said, 'I'll have you' and barged past. I decided to follow him. He wasn't panicking. I had lost quite a bit of ground and was trying to catch him up. I called to passers-by to help. I told them to call the police. I followed the man into Bollo Lane and got within two feet of him'. He said that the man then ran into Osbourbe Road and that as he emerged into Hanbury Road he made another attempt to stop him and grabbed a dustbin and threw it at the man's legs, hitting him around the ankles but failing to stop him. The carpenter said that he then tried to flag down a white Golf GTi car for help with a black rastafarian man in it but that he didn't help and it was later noted that the police were also interested in tracing that man. It was said then that the man was then in Bollo Bridge Road and that about halfway down he reached the Harbour Lights pub and then cut across lawns towards Acton High Street. The carpenter said, 'I came into South Acton estate and walked through it. I ducked and dived behind so he wouldn't realise he was being followed. But he did spot me and ran down the hill past flats into Ragley Close. I lost him there'. It was said that the chase lasted no more than ten minutes.
However, a man that was looking out of his flat window on the estate near Ragley Close said that he saw the man. He said that the man was definitely on edge and was moving backwards and forwards in a doorway and appeared to be looking about as though to find the best way off the estate. He said that the man then ran off towards Buckland Walk and said that by the time that he realised that there was something wrong, it was too late and the man had gone.
The man that saw the man from the flat said that the man was carrying a black bag in his right hand and had a very very tight grip on it and never let go of it once.
The man was last seen in Ragely Close walking up Buckland Walk towards Acton High Street.
The police said that they were interested in speaking to anyone that had seen the chase along its mile route.
The police said that they could find no apparent motive, noting that nothing had been stolen from Jean Bradley. However, they did say earlier in the investigation that the attack might have been an attempted robbery.
The attack was said to have lasted just a few seconds.
They also said that there was no suggestion that Jean Bradley had known her murderer.
The police said that the man had an odd appearance and was definitely a strange character and that they thought that he might have been known to national agencies that helped people such as social services psychiatric units, agencies for drink and drugs as well as charities and charity shops. As such, the police appealed to people such as nurses and people involved in rehabilitation units to come forward if they noticed anything.
When the police examined the scene, they said that they found a piece of plastic about eight inches across that they said they thought might have come from the black bag that the man had had the knife wrapped up in. They said that it had a floral pattern on it and appeared to be printed in the United something, such as the United Arab Emirates or, the United Kingdom or the United States etc. However, after an appeal on the television programme Crime Watch UK, the bag was identified as being a bag with the branding 'Narcissus' on it that was made by a manufacturing company in Ayrshire and the police further appealed to anyone, such as traders, that might have used one.
When the police later made an appeal, they said that they were also trying to trace a street vender that had been in the area knocking door to door. The police said that he was aged about 20-years and that they didn't think that he was connected with the murder in any way, but said that they thought that the murder suspect must have been loitering about and that the street vendor might have seen him.
The murder suspect was described as being a white male, 6ft to 6ft 3in tall, in his late 30s to early 40s and to have had a gaunt looking face with prominent cheek bones and a large nose. The carpenter said that the man appeared to be very pale and said that his cheeks were drawn in and that he had at least two days stubble growth. He added that the man was very cold and could stare right through you.
He was said to have been wearing a three-quarter length grey overcoat and hat that was possible covered by a bin liner, which was also described as a sowester type hat or a fisherman's hat. It was noticed that the hat was particularly noticeable as it was a very dry night at the time.
The man that saw him from the flat in Ragley Close said that the man had a cream three quarter length parker, jet black hair, and black trousers that were too short and were flapping above his ankles. The man said that the man that he saw was definitely flat footed.
The police later said that they had just over 400 possible suspects and that they would be holding identity parades to try to identify the murderer. The identity parades were said to have been planned to be held over a couple of weeks during which they would be focussing on a hard-core.
The police said that they had travelled the country to interview suspects including Devon and Leeds.
The company that Jean Bradley had worked for, PRIcoa Relocation Management put up a £20,000 reward for information that led to a conviction and the police said that the fact that no one was even slightly interested in the reward indicated that the person responsible was probably a loner.
see Reading Evening Post - Tuesday 30 March 1993, p3
see Reading Evening Post - Thursday 13 May 1993, p3
see Reading Evening Post - Tuesday 20 July 1993
see Newcastle Journal - Tuesday 30 March 1993
see Reading Evening Post - Tuesday 31 August 1993
see Reading Evening Post - Friday 12 November 1993
see Reading Evening Post - Friday 16 July 1993