The house in Hill Road: one year on from brutal murder, a killer remains at large

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:50 09 November 2018

Cathy Burke, who was found dead on November 16 last year. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Cathy Burke, who was found dead on November 16 last year. Picture: Metropolitan Police


In the kitchen of a terraced house in Muswell Hill, a candle has burned brightly for almost 365 days in memory of Cathy Burke. One year on from the murder that rocked a community, police remain tight-lipped about any progress towards finding her killer. Hannah Somerville reports.

The house in Hill Road, Muswell Hill where Cathy Burke was found last year. Picture: ArchantThe house in Hill Road, Muswell Hill where Cathy Burke was found last year. Picture: Archant

In recent weeks, a van has been parked outside 34 Hill Road, halfway down a quiet residential street in Muswell Hill.

Workers from Homes for Haringey have been removing personal belongings - among them blankets and pillows - from the property.

One year after Catherine Burke was found murdered in her home, police are now handing it back to the council.

But the investigation continues, with no-one yet charged in connection with the killing of the retired civil servant - and so, unfortunately, do the rumours.

One Hill Road resident in her 80s recalled the night of November 16, 2017, when police broke into the property after being alerted by concerned neighbours.

She said: “It was ridiculous. Up and down, up and down, and since they went… nothing.

“We spoke to one of the coppers that night, and he said it could take a long time.”

A post-mortem examination on November 17 confirmed that Ms Burke, who had lived alone since her son went to university, had been stabbed to death.

Hill Road, N10. Picture: ArchantHill Road, N10. Picture: Archant

It was later reported she had been bound and gagged by the attacker.

But this cannot be confirmed by a coroner until the police investigation ends.

One person, a 31-year-old man, has so far been arrested - back on January 2 this year. He was later released under investigation.

Police also refuted claims that a man living in Hill Road had been arrested in connection with the case.

The boarded-up property as it looked in March this year. Picture: Google StreetviewThe boarded-up property as it looked in March this year. Picture: Google Streetview

Ms Burke had reportedly been security-conscious following a burglary the previous year.

There was no sign of a commotion the night before, and no damage to the house’s exterior.

Next-door neighbour Julie Affinita, 65, said: “The police haven’t told us anything. Nothing at all. Everything is cloudy, and the only thing we can do is prevention.”

“For us it was shocking. She was a very friendly lady. I feel sad because we talked over the fence; we both loved gardening. She liked buying flowers, and now they’re all gone.”

The candle neighbour Anna Nathan has kept lit since Ms Burke's death. Picture: ArchantThe candle neighbour Anna Nathan has kept lit since Ms Burke's death. Picture: Archant

Anna Nathan, 73, the neighbour on the other side, has lit a candle in her kitchen every day since the murder. She said: “The most important thing is that she was a real lady. It’s heartbreaking.”

Ms Burke was originally from Galway and had lived in Hill Road for about 20 years.

After the murder, business owners in the Colney Hatch Lane area said rumours were rife among locals about who was responsible.

But one woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Everyone was talking about it but there was no-one that knew her.

“I tend to keep my mouth shut and don’t ask questions. It’s when you ask questions you get the backlash.”

Police would not confirm what leads they were following, or whether appeals were ongoing.

A spokesman said: “The investigation is ongoing. Enquiries continue.

“Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command are leading the investigation.”

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