In 1987, 37-year-old Elsa Hannaway was enjoying a night out and some respite from her children when she was kicked unconscious and then dragged 100 yards into Whitworth Park in Rusholme.
It was there where she was raped and beaten so badly she suffered severe internal injuries, brain damage and lost a tooth.
Her naked body lay undiscovered for five hours before a Friday morning jogger found her on October 30, 1987.
It was a terrible end to the bright new life she had sought when, as a teenager, she had come to the UK from her home on the island of Saint Vincent in the West Indies some 20 years earlier.
For the next 18 months the shocking ‘body on the park’ murder was headline news. Some of the thousands of female students living in the area were left too frightened to go out at night.
Nearly 30 years on, there is hope for justice. Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are conducting a new forensic review of her shocking murder, which could uncover crucial DNA from her killer, who was never identified.
Elsa’s daughter, Joann, spoke to a local media reporter saying: “I think it’s really sad after so many years that it’s just been left. She’s been forgotten. I don’t think she should be forgotten”.
After arriving from the Caribbean, Elsa settled in Manchester and raised her five children and even a grandson on her own.
Despite a huge investigation involving 125 detectives, police never found Elsa’s killer. Within a few years, the case was effectively shelved. Elsa, according to her family, was ‘forgotten’.
Joann, who was just 17 when her mother was murdered, will not and cannot forget. She recalls how a police officer came to a care home where she was working to tell her there had been ‘an accident’. It was only later at Longsight police station she learned the truth.
Her family was heartbroken when news of the murder was reported on Granada TV, during which her three-year-old grandson pointed at the screen saying ‘there’s mummy’.
The original investigation ran into an impenetrable wall of silence despite uncovering a key eye-witness who had seen the murderer – a Rastafarian who had been spotted standing over Elsa.
At the time, officers used more traditional techniques like door-to-door enquiries and information coming from inside communities. However, people in south Manchester sought to protect her killer and thwart the investigation, as some refused on principle to speak to a police service they regarded as racist.
Detective Chief Superintendent Grange Catlow was brutally honest: “In the 11 years I have been charge of murder inquiries, this is the worst response we have had from the public.
“Just three telephone calls could solve these cases, but there is a general lack of interest”.
If you have any information, however little, pertaining to this investigation then please contact the police or visit your nearest police station.
Photo Credit: GlobeNews