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South Yorkshire police chief 'proud' of force's response to five murders in two weeks

DCC Mark Roberts
DCC Mark Roberts

South Yorkshire' Deputy Chief Constable has spoken of his pride in the county's police force over the way officers dealt with five murders in two weeks.

In a period of unprecedented demand, five separate murder inquiries were launched in South Yorkshire over a 13 day period last month.

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DCC Mark Roberts said the killings and a number of other serious incidents over recent weeks had been 'challenging' but he is pleased at the way his force responded.

All five murders have suspects charged with the offences.

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DCC Roberts said: "While the last few weeks have certainly been challenging, with five murders and a number of other serious incidents, I’m pleased and proud with how the force has responded.

"Alongside the reintroduction of CID back in to districts and a new Major Incident Team, detectives have been able to bring charges in each of the ongoing murder investigations.

"It’s important to recognise that our work does not stop there. Over the coming weeks and months officers will continue to work exceptionally hard as they prepare the cases for court and support families of the victims."

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The first of the five murders over the 13-day period came on Saturday, May 19, when the body of 42-year-old Claire Louise Smith, from Barnsley, was found in Union Street in the town at

6.50am.

A post mortem examination revealed she died from injuries sustained in a 'very severe physical attack'.

Penelope Brownlie, aged 45, and Justine Wainwright, 57, also known as Bridget O’Keefe, both of Britannia Close, Barnsley, have been charged with murder.

A 71-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of murder has been released on police bail as enquiries continue.

Three days later, 19-year-old Ryan Jowle was found stabbed to death in Tannery Close, Woodhouse, Sheffield. He was knifed in his chest.

Frank Mvila Kiongaze, of Morland Road, Gleadless Valley, has been charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.

That same day - Tuesday, May 22 - toddler Erin Emilia Rain Tomkins, from Gleadless Valley, died after being admitted to Sheffield Children's Hospital with severe head injuries.

Martin Johnson, 19, of Leighton Road, Gleadless Valley, has been charged with murder.

Two days later, 15-year-old Samuel Baker was stabbed to death in Lowedges Road, Lowedges, Sheffield.

He was rushed to hospital with knife wounds to his chest but could not be saved.

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with his murder.

And on Thursday, May 31, detectives launched another murder probe after 73-year-old Jill Hibberd was found stabbed to death in her home in Roy Kilner Road, Wombwell, Barnsley.

Lee Trevor Fueloep, 40, of Willow Garth, Wombwell, has been charged with murder and burglary.

Ms Hibberd's car, a red Audi TT , with the registration YM17 SYJ, was taken from the driveway of her home the night before her body was found.

The car has not yet been traced.