Police in fresh bid to solve unsolved murder of Sheffield prostitute 25 years on from killing

The unsolved murder of a Sheffield prostitute 25 years on from the killing is being re-examined again by the police in the hope of finally cracking the case.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 08:41 am
Updated Monday, 13th May 2019, 14:50 pm

Dawn Shields, aged 19, was last seen getting into a car in Broomhall – Sheffield’s red light district at the time - just after midnight on Friday, May 13 and her body was found a week later on the slopes of Mam Tor, Castleton, in the Peak District.

CRIME: Man hunted by police after woman is hit with glass in Chesterfield nightclubSouth Yorkshire Police said the mum-of-one, from Pitsmoor, had been ‘pressurised into prostitution’ from the age of 14 and was plying her trade on the city’s streets to support herself and her 11-month-old son at the time of her death.When her body was discovered by a National Park warden she was naked and buried in a shallow grave under some rocks.

Dawn Shields

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She had head injuries and had been strangled.

To date, nobody has been charged over the murder.

Now, to mark the 25th anniversary of the killing, South Yorkshire Police’s major incident team, which reviews unsolved cases, is ‘actively re-examining evidence’ in the hope of developing new leads.

It is hoped that thanks to advances in technology, previously undetected traces of DNA could be found on murder inquiry exhibits held in storage for the last 25 years.Dave Stopford, who is leading the investigation, said: "We routinely review unsolved murders by looking at new information or evidence.

“A forensic review is where we are really concentrating. Samples have been sent off to scientists and they may or may not come back with something positive.

“All the successes with cold case reviews nationally is through forensic work.”

But he said alongside the scientific work, he wants those with information about the killing to come forward.Mr Stopford added: "In cases like this, offenders can inevitably feel the pressure to confess their involvement to someone.

“An offender, who is suspected at the time, might pressurise a friend or member of their family to provide a false alibi, for example."If you know of or suspect someone's involvement in this horrendous crime we would like to hear from you.

“We are looking for someone who is a violent person.”

He said Dawn was a ‘vulnerable, young person’ when she was killed and the focus of the re-examination of the case is to seek ‘justice’ for her and her family.

Dawn's death is one of two unsolved prostitute killings in Sheffield.

Michaela Hague, 25, was killed seven years later after being picked up from Bower Street, off Corporation Street in the city centre, on Bonfire Night 2001.

She was found stabbed slumped on a car park at nearby Spitalfields after being stabbed 19 times in her back and neck.

Mr Stopford said there is no evidence to suggest that the same killer struck twice.

“We have reviewed other cases to see if there are any similarities and there is no evidential link,” he said.

Anyone with information on Dawn’s murder should call South Yorkshire Police on 0114 2961399 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.