Man charged with 1993 knife killing of teenage schoolgirl

Feb. 13, 2014 at 1:45 AM
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MAIDSTONE, England, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- More than 20 years after an English teenager died in a violent knife attack in an alley in Kent, investigators say they have identified her killer.

Kent Police said Colin Ash-Smith, 45, will be charged with the murder of Claire Tiltman, the Daily Express reported. He is scheduled to appear before a magistrate Feb. 28.

Claire died four days after her 16th birthday in January 1993. She was attacked in an alley she used as a shortcut walking to a friend's house to study in Greenhithe, a small town on the Thames estuary in Kent. She managed to stagger to a nearby road before collapsing.

Police have released little information about what led them to Ash-Smith, described by the Sun as a friend of the Tiltman family. A cold-case review of the killing began in 2012, and a house in Dartford was searched last year.

"Claire Tiltman's unsolved death is one of the longest-running cases for Kent Police and has remained in the forefront of the minds of investigating officers for over two decades," said Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

A group called Justice for Claire has remained active, holding a concert in Dartford last month on the 21st anniversary of the killing. Claire's mother, Linda, died in 2008, and her father, Cliff, in 2012.

"It would mean everything to me to find out, after all these years, who did this to Claire," Cliff Tiltman said in January 2012, speaking from the nursing home where he was hospitalized with terminal cancer.

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