Bonfire Night murder of Sheffield woman remains one of two unsolved prostitute killings in city

The Bonfire Night murder of a woman in Sheffield remains one of two unsolved cases involving the deaths of prostitutes in the city.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 1:57 pm

Michaela Hague, aged 25, was stabbed to death on November 5, 2001 – with Friday, November 5 marking the 20th anniversary of the murder.

While bonfires were burning and firework displays were being enjoyed in Sheffield that night, mum-of-one Michaela was knifed a total of 19 times in her back and neck.

Two decades on, her killer remains free to roam the streets.

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L-R: Dawn Shields and Michaela Hague were both working as prostitutes in Sheffield when they were killed

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Despite the investigation into the death among the largest ever carried out by South Yorkshire Police, with thousands of interviews carried out, nobody has ever been charged over the murder.

Michaela’s fate was sealed when she was picked up by a punter who pulled up in a car on Bower Street, off Corporation Street, and drove her to a secluded nearby car par – opposite a pub known then as The Manchester, but which is now The Harlequin.

An old-style blue Ford Sierra was spotted driving away from where Michaela’s body was discovered by another sex worker, who raised the alarm.

The first police officer deployed to the crime scene spoke to Michaela and managed to retrieve valuable information from the young woman, who was found in a pool of blood and died in hospital three hours later.

It was hoped that the clues provided – that her attacker was white, clean-shaven and wore a wedding ring – would help detectives track him down.

Michaela, of Lopham Street, Pitsmoor, also said he was around 38 years old, 6ft tall and was wearing a blue fleece and glasses.

A police E-fit was later produced and shared on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme in case the killer was from elsewhere in the country but he was never traced.

Officers also mounted a nationwide search for the car used by the killer – tracking down the owners of vehicles of the same make, model and colour up and down the country.

Michaela, who had a five-year-old son at the time of her death, worked as a prostitute to fund a heroin habit. She had started working on the streets just six months earlier, an inquest into her death was told.

She too was picked up in a car in Broomhall – Sheffield’s red light district at the time – and her body was later found in a shallow grave on the slopes of Mam Tor, Castleton.

Dawn was last seen alive on Friday, May 13, 1994 and her remains were discovered one week later.

The naked body of the mum-of-one, from Pitsmoor, was found by a National Park ranger.

She had head injuries and had been strangled.

Possible links between the two cases have been investigated but there is nothing to suggest the same killer was responsible.

Anyone with information about either of the murders should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.