Police have thrown away the clothing worn by a Sheffield murder victim killed 17 years ago this weekend.
The family of Patricia Grainger say they have been told 33 items of her clothing, including what she was wearing when she died, have been ‘discarded’.
Patricia’s son Daniel, who was five when his mother was killed, said the family are angry at the admission and they should have been consulted before her personal possessions were thrown out.
Earlier this year, police said they had thrown away the divan bed base her body was found under because it did not have any evidential value – something Daniel disputes.
Daniel, aged 22, was persuaded to postpone putting in an official complaint to South Yorkshire Police about the bed base, but said the new information means he will be putting in a formal complaint.
He said the family will also now seek legal advice on whether they can challenge how the investigation has been carried out.
Patricia was stabbed, sexually assaulted and strangled, with her body dumped near a brook close to her home on Buchanan Road, Parson Cross, on August 10, 1997.
Police made one arrest in 1997 and arrested two men in 2008, but no one has ever been charged with her murder.
Detective Superintendent Dave Barraclough said the murder is still under investigation and resources will be allocated to it ‘wherever possible’.
He added: “The items of clothing Mrs Grainger was wearing at the time of her death were submitted to the Forensic Science Service and were subject to a thorough examination. As a result, South Yorkshire Police is no longer in possession of these items.
“We understand how distressing it must be for Mrs Grainger’s family to still not have justice for their loved one after all this time.”
Det Supt Barraclough added: “If anyone has information I would urge them to contact police or Crimestoppers.”
Daniel said: “What they are saying with the clothes is that they have taken fibres off them. But what they took back then doesn’t mean they won’t find something new.”
He added the brutality of his mother’s murder and the long wait for justice has taken a great toll on the family.
“It was more than a killing, she was brutually attacked,” he said.
“The entire family has had enough. My grandad is 77 and it does get to him. I don’t want him to die an unhappy man. I don’t want to die myself and not have found out.”