Appeal for witnesses in brutal 1972 rape and murder of bar worker

Amala Ruth De Vere Whelan was brutally raped and strangled to death in her own flat

Amala Ruth De Vere Whelan was brutally raped and strangled to death in her own flat - Credit: Archant

Detectives have launched a fresh appeal more than 40 years after 22-year-old Amala Ruth De Vere was strangled to death in Maida Vale.

A copy of the Met's original murder appeal

A copy of the Met's original murder appeal - Credit: Archant

Police found her body several days after she had been viciously beaten, raped and throttled with a stocking at her flat in Randolph Avenue, on November 12 1972.

When officers entered the property, they discovered the word “ripper” had been daubed onto a wall in the living room with detergent from a washing up liquid bottle.

There was no sign of forced entry, leading detectives to believe that Amala either knew her assailant or had allowed them access to the flat.

Amala had lived there for about three weeks prior to her death. Before this she had been working and lodging at The Bar Lotus on Regents Park Road in Camden.

A full forensic and fingerprint examination was carried out at the time which failed to link any suspect to the killing and the case has remained unsolved despite extensive enquiries.

Detective Inspector Susan Stansfield, from the Met’s Special Casework Investigation Team at the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “More than 44 years have now passed since Amala’s death but I am convinced that someone, somewhere, knows the circumstances of her brutal murder.

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“It was a long time ago but I’m sure there are people in the local area who remember Amala’s murder.

“Did you live in the vicinity of Randolph Avenue in the early 1970s? Did you see or hear anything suspicious on 12 November 1972?”

Police are particularly interested in tracing any friends and relatives of Amala.

At the time of her death, she had a younger sister aged approximately 12 years old, who would now be aged around 56.

DI Stansfield continued: “Amala suffered a brutal death and the identity of the suspect has remained a mystery. She was a very popular and attractive female who had a wide social network of friends. She was an active member of the CND party, and had numerous friends in the art world.

“If you have any information, no matter how insignificant you think it might be, please come forward.

“Maybe you didn’t contact police at the time as you were too scared, but with the passage of time now feel able to tell us what you know in confidence.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 020 7230 4294 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.