Breaking news: Genette Tate 'witness' makes astonishing claims

A HONITON man, who believes he met Genette Tate s killer 48 hours after the 13-year-old disappeared in 1978, says he has spent the last 30 years agonising over the initial police investigation.

A HONITON man, who believes he met Genette Tate's killer 48 hours after the 13-year-old disappeared in 1978, says he has spent the last 30 years agonising over the initial police investigation.

Melvin Brady, 56, believes a red herring cost detectives their one big chance to break the case.

Devon and Cornwall Police say Mr Brady's information has not been able to assist the long-running inquiry.

Mr Brady does not believe convicted child killer Robert Black, who is serving ten life sentences, was involved in the teenager's disappearance. The Crown Prosecution Service has declined to bring charges against Black, saying it is not in the public interest.

Mr Brady has pieced together detailed information about the movements of a suspect, he says, police never made public.

And he is adamant Genette was murdered the day she went missing and her body dumped in Woodbury Woods.

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His theory is that her killer was a member of the armed forces, possibly a soldier, who was based at Taunton but undergoing training near Exeter. "I've been frustrated, pulling my hair out, for the last 30 years," Mr Brady said.

"I gave them the information, but none of it ever came out. They just kept running with the same story."

Mr Brady, a keen darts player, was at The Tuckers Arms, in Dalwood, two days after Genette vanished while delivering newspapers.

He worked for the former J H Shand, of Axminster, and had popped into the pub for a packet of cigarettes.

"This bloke dropped in and he was up to no good," he said. "He was about 30 years old and had dyed black hair, bushy eyebrows and blue eyes with flecks in them.

"I remember he was wearing a white shirt with rolled up sleeves, black trousers and brown shoes.

"He was like a cat on a hot tin roof, looking round.

"I noticed he had parked his car on the corner, not right outside the pub."

Later, police appeals described a man detectives wanted to trace in connection with Genette's disappearance.

"He matched the description perfectly," said Mr Brady. "What the police got wrong was the make of his car; it wasn't a maroon Triumph Dolomite but a chocolate-coloured Alfa Romeo Spider, which had been modified and had a vinyl roof, low wheels and a low sump.

"I believe he was on his way back to Taunton. He said he originally came from Sussex, but something he said made me believe he was in the armed forces."

Two weeks after Genette's disappearance, convinced he had vital information, Mr Brady went to Heavitree Road Police Station in Exeter, he claims.

He told the Herald nobody involved in the investigation was available to see him, but he left his contact details.

Police were this week unable to verify Mr Brady's claim.

"Every day, I waited for that knock on the door," he recalled. "They didn't contact me for two years and they have never taken a formal statement.

"The police have never made any appeals for information about an Alfa Romeo. They have stood in the way of a possible breakthrough."

Mr Brady has a map showing what he believes to be the movements of Genette's abductor, pieced together with the aid of other alleged eyewitness accounts.

He is certain the man went into the village pub in Aylesbeare before snatching Genette from her bicycle.

"From Aylesbeare he went to Marsh Green and then a quarry, but found himself blocked in and a property overlooking the site," said Mr Brady. "He drove back towards Aylesbeare and then travelled to White Cross, where a vehicle was seen travelling at speed towards the A3052."

Mr Brady believes Genette was in the car at the time. He thinks she was killed and dumped in woods before her murderer returned to his training base near Exeter. Two days later, he believes the man was returning to Taunton when he stopped off in Dalwood.

"I just want Genette's family to know what I believe happened," Mr Brady told the Herald.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: "We have interviewed Mr Brady a number of times and have fully considered the allegations he has made. At this time, the information he has provided us with has not been able to assist the inquiry.

"Despite this being a massive investigation, with files having been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, we have not been in a position to charge any individual, but will continue to follow up any new leads appropriately.